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CONSUMERS deserve a pat on the back for “forcing” the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to pull down its overall power rates by 70 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this May, said a Makabayan bloc politiko.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said Meralco’s power rate drop only goes to show that vigilance from the consuming public is enough to keep giant distributors from abusing electricity costs.

“Kung may magbabantay pala pwede namang bumaba ang presyo ng kuryente. With this reduction households can save from up to P350 on electricity which is a victory of electricity consumers,” said Colmenares, a Senior Deputy Minority Leader.

The 70-cent slide comes smack-dab in middle of summer or when electricity consumption is at its peak.

Meralco said the reduction was mainly driven by lower charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), as well as a reduction in the National Power Corporation’s (NPC’s) Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism(GRAM) collections.

Although describing the drop in electricity rates as a “welcome development”, Colmenares still called on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to immediately release its report on the alleged collusion in the power generation industry.

“However, even if Meralco was forced to reduce its rates for May our opposition at the ERC stands and we want the collusion report to be released next week.

“The collusion in the power sector should be stopped and those guilty should be penalized. Pag mag shutdown ang planta dapat bayaran nila ang mataas na singil sa kuryente at huwag ipasa sa taumbayan,” the leftist lawmaker said. (Randy K. Ortega)