Worried that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will impose the highest power rate hike ever, a group of consumers and lawmakers on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to extend indefinitely the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued halting the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate increase approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) late last year.
The TRO expires on April 22, 2014. The High Court will also hold its last summer session in Baguio City on the same date.
The group led by party-list lawmakers filed a motion asking the SC to also extend the TRO against several power generation companies that stopped them from collecting the adjusted generation charges that led Meralco to increase its rate.
The SC issued the TRO, valid for 60 days, against Meralco on December 23, 2013. It extended the order for another 60 days.
The petitioners said the High Court should protect consumers from “patently erroneous generation charges.”
The motion filed on Tuesday also questioned the ERC decision allowing Meralco to impose the generation cost as an automatic pass-through charge to its customers, resulting in the unprecedented December rate hike.
“Electric consumers are already suffering from so many burdens that it is imperative that the SC extend this temporary relief or better yet declare the proposed outrageous power rate hike as illegal and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act as unconstitutional,” Rep. Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers Party-list said.