Rein in Meralco rates, ERC urged

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The Quezon City Council has urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to strictly exercise its regulatory powers to reduce the cost of electricity imposed on consumers by power firms led by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

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In a resolution introduced by Councilor Karl Edgard Castelo, the city council strongly expressed opposition to the high electricity rates being borne especially by ordinary consumers.

“The soaring electricity rates have tremendously affected the income of residential households, the production expenses of commercial and industrial establishments and the operation of government agencies delivering frontline services,” the city council said.

A stable, affordable and transparent electricity pricing is a factor that will improve the cost and quality of living and business climate, according to the council.

The resolution said lower power rates will benefit the poor and marginalized sectors because low-income households can spend more on basic necessities such as food, water and medicines.

Meralco’s power-generation charges, it noted, rose from P4.87 per kilowatt hour in 2000 to P11.40 per kwh in 2013, a 134.1-percent increase in 13 years.

The utility, the city council said, was supposed to pass additional charge of P4.15 per kwh, the highest rate hike proposed by Meralco in December 2013 but was blocked by a petition filed with the Supreme Court.

Price of electricity in Metro Manila is widely known as the third-highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

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