Bayan Muna party-list has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to probe the jump in the electricity bills of the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco’s) customers, which have taken many of them by surprise.
Rep. Carlos Zarate, who represents the party-list in Congress, questioned Meralco’s claim that the higher bills were a result of higher consumption considering that the government eported a downward trend in demand during the lockdown period.
Citing President Rodrigo Duterte’s May 4 report on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, Zarate said the government reported excess capacity over peak demand for major island grids in recent weeks.
So how can consumption increase when the demand is going down from as we enter the summer period?” he asked.
Zarate said Meralco’s rates should not even increase since it can refrain from paying its contract demand to suppliers since the COVID-19 pandemic was a “force majeure.”
“The ERC must investigate the complaint of surge in electricity bills since the government is empowered under Sec. 4 [i] and [u] of the Bayanihan law to regulate the supply power, fuel, energy and water and protect the people from profiteering, cartels, monopolies and other pernicious practices,” he said.