SENATOR Antonio Trillanes has urged the Senate committee on Energy to investigate the pending big-time and record increase in electricity cost charged by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
“It is incumbent upon the Senate, through the Senate Committee on Energy and other appropriate Senate committees, to protect public interest and safeguard the rights of consumers from alleged unjust financial burden and abuse of the law, especially at a time when the country is still reeling from a string of natural and man-made catastrophes,” Trillanes said in filing Senate Resolution No. 411.
Trillanes said that “Republic Act No. 9136 or the EPIRA Law was enacted in 2001 to implement reforms in the energy sector, including assurance of the quality, reliability, security and affordability of the supply of electric power in the country.
However, the proposed increase in the generation cost of Meralco runs counter to this purpose of the aforesaid law.”
He also cited reports of the alleged collusion among power plants and the unusual number of power outages during the Malampaya shutdown which put into question the validity of the said proposal.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Monday approved the implementation of the said hike amounting to more than P4.00 per kilowatt hour, the highest in the country’s history, which will be distributed in three tranches.
The price hike is due to the increase in generation charges triggered by the scheduled maintenance shutdown of Malampaya natural gas platform, where Meralco sources bulk of its power requirements. This was compounded by the outage of other plants where Malampaya sources its power from.
Meanwhile, Senate president pro-tempore Ralph Recto said that it is only proper for the senate to look into the matter to determine if the ERC is doing its job properly. Jefferson Antiporda