By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
House Deputy Minority Floor Leader Carlos Zarate blasted the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan for still prioritizing its profits even during this time of pandemic and suffering of Filipinos.
Meralco earlier announced rates inched up to P8.9951 per kilowatt hour (kWh) this April from P8.8901 per kWh last month, saying that the P0.105 per kWh upward adjustment is attributed to the normalization of the universal charge rate.
Zarate said the Meralco is “crucifying the consumers” with another power rate hike during this health crisis brought by the deadly coronavirus, considering that the Pangilinan-led firm refused to waive last month’s electricity bill for consumers.
“It is obvious that Meralco still want more profits even it means more suffering to consumers,” said Zarate.
The new electric rate would roughly increase the total monthly bill by P21 particularly those household consuming 200 kWh/month on the average.
Zarate stressed that Panglinan-led company should be investigated “because seemingly it is being manipulated to justify the increase in power rates.”
“This is questionable that is why we want these universal charges, among them the missonary charges, said Zarate.
He also accused electric firm of “hiding behind generation companies” that claimed they would be angry if Meralco will not collect the electricity bill—among these generation companies are those that are owned by the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments, the parent company of Meralco.
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares for his part said that “it is quite ironic that the supposed small time electric cooperatives are the ones stepping up and are willing to waive the one-month electricity bill of the poorest or lifeline consumers.”
Colmenares stressed that Meralco has billions more in capital and profit than these electric cooperatives “but it does not have the heart for its consumers who have long been the source of its profits.”
“If Meralco is still so profit driven then the least it can do together with other gencos is to waive at least the electricity bills also of their lifeline consumers and defer the payment of electric bills for at least two months for the others,” said Colmenares.