Meralco asked to explain rate outlook


THE Department of Energy (DoE) has asked Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to explain the rationale for projecting that electricity rates could rise by 8 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh) as early as February.

In an interview on Friday, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said his department sent Meralco a letter asking on how the listed power distribution utility computed the rate increase under Republic Act 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act.

Cusi said the letter was not sent “out of disrespect, disbelief or whatever you say,” but to clarify the matter, so it could properly inform power consumers of Train’s impact on electricity rates.

“The consumer cannot ask them how they calculated the estimated power rate hike… I represent the consumer and then I ask,” the Energy chief said.

Now you ask me how much will it cost. I cannot say power rates could increase by 8 centavos per kWh, he added.

Cusi’s statement came after Meralco Vice President and Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said earlier this week that power consumers could expect a “staggered” impact of the new excise tax rates on coal under Train on their electricity rates.

He admitted, however he was not certain how long consumers would feel the impact of the higher excise tax under Train, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 19, 2017 and took effect New Year’s Day.

Under this law, the coal tax is raised from P10 per metric ton (MT) to P50 this year, P100 in 2019 and P150 in 2020.


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