Meralco performance to be reviewed in Senate for franchise bid

Meralco performance to be reviewed in Senate for franchise bid

09:46 AM May 27, 2024

Meralco performance to be reviewed in Senate for franchise bid


MANILA, Philippines—The performance of power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will be assessed at the Senate when the utility’s bid to renew its franchise reaches the chamber, according to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

“These franchise renewals, my view always is that we have to use this opportunity to review the performance of the (franchise) grantee,” Gatchalian said on the sidelines of an industry event held recently.


“And that’s a good way of putting accountability to the grantee,” Gatchalian said.


The senator said as with any other entity seeking a franchise extension, Meralco’s performance needs to be reviewed based on certain factors.

One, he said, is prices “since they buy power, and the service which includes connection, brownouts, speed of repairing lines, etc.”

“For me, I have to look at the performance of Meralco before I can say whether to support it or not,” he added.

No senator has filed a bill seeking the extension of the power firm’s congressional franchise that would lapse in 2028.

House Bill No. 9793 proposes giving Meralco another 25 years to serve its existing coverage area “to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply and distribution of quality and reliable electric service.”

Meralco is the largest distribution utility in the Philippines, whose franchise spans 39 cities and 72 municipalities.


Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Monalisa Dimalanta said earlier the regulator is initially targeting to complete the overall assessment of Meralco within the year but it might be delayed as the regulator needs to deliberate on all motions filed before it before acting on the matter.

“We were initially targeting to complete the reset within the year but Meralco and its intervenors filed motions we need to resolve before proceeding,” Dimalanta said.

The ERC, according to Dimalanta, last conducted the audit on Meralco in 2011 during the third regulatory period covering the years 2011 to 2015.

The exercise involves looking into the entity’s assets, revenues, expenses and performance.

Some groups had expressed opposition to granting the franchise renewal of Meralco, pointing out it was ill-timed as consumers are grappling with dwindling power supply and increasing demand.

Meralco Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga had said prolonging the utility’s legislative franchise is “a firm validation” of its efforts to provide electricity services.

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“Granting the franchise renewal would allow Meralco’s growing number of customers to continue enjoying stable and reliable electricity service, which is vital in powering not just households but also industrial and commercial customers that drive the country’s economic progress,” he said.

TAGS: Meralco, Meralco franchise, Sherwin Gatchalian

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