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Meralco urged to junk power rate hike

August 10, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 279 views

THE Manila Electric Company (Meralco) was urged to waive its announced power rate hike this month.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said another rate increase would add burden to the consumers especially those that will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, Meralco announced that power rates will increase this August by P0.65 per kilowatt-hour, bringing the rate to P9.0036/kWh from P8.9071/kWh.

This is supposedly due to an increase in transmission charges by 13.31 centavos per kilowatt-hour to P0.7323/kWh from P0.5992/kWh, on the back of higher ancillary service charges that account for 36 percent of the total charges.

According to Zarate, this fifth consecutive power rate hike since March would translate to an increase of around P19 in the total bill of residential customers consuming 200 kWh.

“This is another burden to consumers who are now under enchanced community quarantine (ECQ) locked up in their homes and have no means of livelihood. In fact the ayuda to be given this week of 1k per person and maximum of 4k per household is not enough even if it used just for food expenses and now they have another expense to bear due to the power rate hike,” Zarate said.

Zarate pointed out that Meralco can put on hold the power rate increase because even at the full brunt of the lockdowns and the pandemic last year Meralco was still able to earn P21.71 billion in electricity sales.

“Besides waiving the power rate hike will not mean the closure or bankruptcy of the distribution company but it will be of great help to consumers hard hit by the pandemic.Sana naman ay isipin ng Meralco ang mga consumers at tulungan sila ng direkta sa pamamagitan nito,” the solon added.