MILITANT group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Saturday condemned the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) plan to increase power rates starting this month until July, saying the rate adjustment will be an added burden to workers.
“The summer electricity rate hike which Meralco announced highlights corporate greed in the country’s power sector.
Increased demand during summer by itself guarantees that big capitalists in the power sector will get bigger profits, yet they still want to hike rates,” Elmer Labog, the group’s national chairman, said.
Labog added that Meralco’s excuse for the rate hike exposes the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) as a mechanism by big capitalists who own generation companies to take advantage of higher demand by increasing power rates.
“The proposed rate hike shows that the deregulation of power rates, to which WESM is integral, should be junked. The WESM is a legalized venue for big capitalists in the power sector to carry out their collusion for higher profits,” Labog said.
The labor leader said the privatization of the power sector ushered in by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 has allowed the power cartel to put profits above the public’s interest.
“All rate hikes being implemented by Meralco point to the necessity of junking the Epira. This law has legalized the greedy profit-taking of big capitalists at the expense of their captive market composed mainly of workers, farmers and the poor,” Labog said.
The labor leader called on the public to join the “Lights Off” protests on April 14 and 21 to call on the Supreme Court to junk Meralco’s petition for a rate hike.