Meralco assures customers they are not being overcharged, slams groups which try to misinform public
MANILA — The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on Tuesday categorically denied allegations made by Bayan Muna and consumer groups on the reported P66-billion over recovery the power distribution firm allegedly earned for the past several years, dismissing the claims as “rehashed and reused”.
In a letter to Inquirer.net, Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco VP and head of corporate communications, stressed that Meralco “has not, and will not, in any way, charge customers for more than what is allowed under the law as approved by the energy regulator.”
Zaldarriaga said the allegations also do not provide the whole picture despite being lifted from the power distribution firm’s postings and disclosures, as these allegations were merely rehashed.
He assured the public that Meralco has not been overcharging its customers and reiterated that all their transactions have been above-board and totally compliant with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Meralco issued the letter in response to the calls by Bayan Muna and the other groups urging the House Committee on Energy to fast track its probe on Meralco’s reported P66 billion over recovery for the past several years.
Here’s Meralco’s letter to the editor written by Zaldarriaga in full:
“In response to the November 29, 2020 news article of Inquirer.net on Bayan Muna, particularly Rep. Carlos Zarate, urging the House Committee on Energy to fast track its probe on the reported P66 billion over recovery of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco),” Meralco would like to once again categorically deny the groups’ rehashed and reused claims, emphasizing that Meralco has not, and will not, in any way, charge customers for more than what is allowed under the law as approved by the energy regulator.
“The allegations do not provide the whole picture despite being lifted from the Company’s postings and disclosures, as these allegations are merely rehashed from a statement they issued three months ago. Moreover, these allegations appear to be nothing more than disinformation which I hope is not aimed to misinform the public.
“As stated in previous responses to the exact same accusations being made by the groups, we maintain that the points raised in the statement would best be discussed and addressed with the regulator in an appropriate forum. Meralco continues to be fully transparent with the public and the government , and will openly provide all data, details and information as requested and as necessary, on an official basis.
“We would like to assure the public that consumers are NOT being overcharged. In fact, we announced this past month another downward adjustment of power rates, the eighth month of decrease this year, leading to a total net rate decrease of 1.35 pesos per kWh since the start of 2020. This year’s overall rates are also at their lowest levels in three years, since September 2017. Meralco’s rates continue to be one of the lowest among all distribution utilities in the country, and even in the region, so it is highly questionable that Bayan Muna continues to single out our company. This leads us to question what the agenda is all about.
“With regards to these group’s repetitive calls for Meralco to be probed, Meralco has always been willing to explain and work with both government and regulator in order to bring more clarity to any matter regarding our rates. But we firmly maintain that these attacks on our company are baseless, as all our rates have been duly approved by regulator, and are documented as well for public reference. If any individual or group has any questions or concerns regarding Meralco power rates, then it should be discussed during a thorough process before the ERC.
“In conclusion, let me reiterate that all of our operations have been above-board and totally compliant with all applicable rules, regulations, and guidelines, as we continue working around the clock, 24/7 to ensure the reliable distribution of electricity to our customers, especially during these challenging times of pandemic.
“Thank you, and in the spirit of fairness, I am hoping Meralco’s side can also be considered by Inquirer.”
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