San Miguel explores ‘legal remedies’ after rate hike rejection | Inquirer Business
But vows continuous power supply to Meralco

San Miguel explores ‘legal remedies’ after rate hike rejection

SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGP), the power arm of listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has vowed uninterrupted power supply to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) even after the denial of their joint petition for higher power rates.

But even as it exerts all efforts to continuously meet Meralco’s energy requirements under their supply deals, SMCGP said it would explore all legal options that would allow it to continue meeting its obligations to stakeholders after the regulator rejected its plea for a power rate hike last Monday.

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SMC’s energy unit did not disclose the legal remedies being explored. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it could still file a motion for reconsideration or refile their application with the agency.

“Despite the present challenges, we will never withhold our available power capacity to the detriment of the country and the consumers,” said SMCGP in a statement.

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SMCGP expressed “regret” over the ERC’s decision to deny their appeal for temporary relief on its 2019 power supply agreements (PSA) with Meralco as this would ultimately affect customers more than the firm.

“The temporary relief would have enabled us to preserve few of the last remaining fixed-rate PSAs of Meralco that are responsible for keeping power rates in Metro Manila low compared to other parts of the country, amid surging global fuel prices,” it added.

SMC had stated it has been seeing losses of as much as P15 billion since last year for operating its coal-fired power plant in Sual, Pangasinan, and natural gas-fired power plant in Ilijan, Batangas, on the back of soaring global fuel prices.

If granted by the ERC, the petition would have translated to a power rate increase of 30 centavos per kilowatt-hour will be amortized for six months, as the firm previously said.

Meralco’s own computation was even validated by ERC’s Regulatory Operations Office, with SMCGP saying the agency has no other data or information to refute the computations and simulations provided by the power distributor.

“We believe these numbers speak for themselves,” said SMCGP. “The ERC, armed with such data, knows too well that denying the petition will not only cripple us, but more importantly, burden consumers who will have to face higher electricity bills.”

Gabryle Aguila, head of equity research at Unicapital Securities Inc., earlier told the Inquirer energy sector challenges worsened by the Russia-Ukraine conflict is pressuring power producers and their customers.

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TAGS: energy regulatory commission, Meralco, Power rates, San Miguel Corp. (SMC)
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