Friday, November 12, 2004

NR1109: Meralco's latest rate hike

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 9 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news


Solon slams 30% electricity rate increase; challenges VP de Castro to move
against Meralco in defense of consumers


Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed outrage anew against
Meralco and its latest rate increase which forces households in Metro Manila
and neighboring provinces consuming 500 kilowatt-hours a month to pay an
additional P682.60. Households using 400 kWh a month will have to pay an
additional P546.08. Those consuming 300 kWh will pay P409.56 and those using
200 kWh, P273.04.

"There is no justifying these atrocious increases. Napocor and Meralco should
be crucified for once more sneaking up from behind consumers and springing this
most upsetting surprise. Neither Napocor and Meralco officials or the ERC for
that matter are fooling anyone with their explanations that a rate hike was
necessary. They are all making excuses among themselves and justifying their
collective greed. If there was any illusion that this Christmas will be a
season of bright and cheerful lights, then this latest rate increase definitely
kills that illusion," he said.

The higher costs (a total of P1.365 per kWh) are dueto a sharp increase in the
generation charges of the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) and the
partial lifting of cross-subsidies.This month, Meralco's monthly charges will
increase by 30 percent, or almost P1.08 per kWh, to reflect the increase in
Napocor charges.

From the current P3.50 per kWh that Meralco charges its customers every month,
the rate will go up to P4.57 as a result of the Energy Regulatory
Commission-approved Napocor rate increase.

The other costs include the generation rate adjustment mechanism (GRAM), a
pass-through charge that Meralco collects every quarter to cover the costs of
power from Napocor and independent power producers (IPPs)First Gas Power Corp.
and Quezon Power Philippines Ltd., and the incremental currency exchange rate
adjustment, a recovery mechanism for foreign exchange fluctuations.

Beltran scored Malacanang anew for its refusal to stop Napocor and Meralco from
imposing more rate hikes. "This is total callousness. Once more, Pres. Arroyo
has shown her indifference to the plight of the working people whose economic
welfare is already under serious attack. It would not be surprising if most
households affected by this latest rate increase would be forced to forego
their electricity payments and risk having their lines cut off by Meralco," he
said.

"The calls for Pres. Arroyo's ouster are certain to gain ground in the coming
weeks and months as electricity rates continue to rise, along with the prices
of gasoline and LPG. Her inutility against the purchased power adjustment (PPA)
was what first severely attacked her popularity, and it's certain that the
electricity rate increases will once more contribute to her falling approval
ratings.

The veteran labor leader also challenged Vice-President Noli de Castro to use
his influence and clout with the Lopez group and demand that Meralco
immediately do away with the rate increase. "So far, we have seen or heard
nothing of the Vice-president. This would be a very opportune time to step in
and defend consumers, many of whom voted for him on the strength of the
pro-poor image he projected in his former show Magandang Gabi, Bayan," he said.
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