TRO vs Meralco rate hike expires Tuesday | Inquirer Business

TRO vs Meralco rate hike expires Tuesday


MANILA, Philippines–The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has expressed optimism that issues on the recent electricity rate hikes will soon be resolved even as the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) on the controversial power rate hike last December 2013 expires Tuesday.

William S. Pamintuan, Meralco first vice president and head of legal affairs, said in a text message that the lifting of the TRO will allow the implementation of the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) earlier order for spot market operators to recalculate the “unusually high” and “unjustified” rates of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) that triggered controversy over electricity rates in December 2013.


“Meralco shall await the new rate from PEMC (Philippine Electricity Market Corp., which operates the WESM) and shall file with the ERC the appropriate application,” Pamintuan said.

He said Meralco is assuring consumers that in case the TRO expires, this will not result in the automatic imposition of increased power rates.


Pamintuan also noted that since WESM rates have been recomputed for the month in question on ERC orders, the rate increase for December 2013 is expected to be much lower than the P3.44 per kWh that was addressed by the TRO.

Recalculation of charge

The new rate is widely expected to be around P0.27 per kWh, although Meralco has not confirmed such figure.

“The Supreme Court can extend the effectivity of the TRO, allow it to lapse, or come out with its decision on the main petitions. If there will be no extension, a recalculation of Meralco’s November WESM bill may be undertaken in accordance with the ERC’s March 3 order,” said ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan.

According to Juan, once Meralco receives its revised bill, it will be able to recalculate its generation charge for December. “If this is still higher than the P5.67 per kWh rate it implemented then (due to Supreme Court TRO), it may file a petition with ERC for recovery of the difference,” he said.

Supreme Court Public Information Office head Theodore Te declined to comment as the high court judges meet en banc today. “Let’s wait for (the) official announcement,” he said in a text message yesterday morning.

Meralco Utility Economics Head Lawrence Fernandez said Meralco will respect any order that the high court issues on the matter.


“This situation would most likely mirror the recalculation of the January 2014 billing, wherein a significant 90 percent reduction was realized on the original increase, from the P4.56 per kWh to P0.45 per kWh,” he said.


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TAGS: energy regulatory commission, Manila Electric Co., Meralco, Power Rate Hike, William S. Pamintuan
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