Rodriguez slams calls to split Meralco franchise

November 30, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 181 views

CAGAYAN de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez has slammed proposals to break Meralco’s franchise area into three parts, emphasizing that addressing consumers’ power woes should be the priority.

Rodriguez, a member of the House committees on energy and economic affairs, said individuals and groups claiming to be pro-consumers should instead focus on coming up with concrete solutions to high power rates and service reliability, not just in areas serviced by Meralco.

“As representatives of the Filipino people, it is our responsibility to enlighten the public about what is really happening and not cause confusion by bringing up proposals that have not been carefully studied,” he said.

He clarified that he has no problems with questioning the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) of Meralco and other power distributors, as this would actually resolve the long-standing issue on the absence of rate reset for many regulated entities.

“But if WACC is the problem, isn’t the logical solution review the WACC and have the regulator complete the rate reset process,” Rodriguez questioned.

The lawmaker challenged those who said splitting Meralco franchise into three by identifying who should take over the huge responsibility of ensuring that there will always be sufficient supply to support not just households, but the country’s growing economy.

“These calls happen even before Meralco’s franchise expires, so clearly there are interests playing around here. But the interest that we should be focusing on is that of the Filipino people,” he added.

He also pointed out misinformation emanating from different groups like some that claim Meralco controls CALABARZON, when it can easily be verified that the service area only covers part of the region.

CALABARZON remains to be a growth area and many investors are locating in the region, which is precisely the reason why it is crucial that there is sufficient, reliable, and affordable power supply.

“This is just an example of a region that benefits from the economies of scale. It gives competitive utilities the advantage to secure better offers from power suppliers which are pass-through costs that directly impact consumers,” Rodriguez said

“There is also the benefit from capital-heavy investments that should improve service delivered to consumers. The sad reality is, not all electricity distributors have the resources to invest and we should not punish those that could,” he added.

The congressman said there is nothing wrong in pointing out problems but these should be based on carefully studied facts in order to come up with the appropriate solutions that best serve the consumers’ interests.