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Meralco self-dealing

  • Written by Peoples Journal
  • Published in Newsdesk
  • Read: 273

An economic expansion cannot be sustained in the face of both high expense of doing business and
cost of living. 

In fact, any economic advance is likely to sputter under such a back-breaking electricity
bill. 

This is because the economy is basically driven by investments in one side and consumption
on the other. 

Power rates are basic cost of doing business even as electricity bills represent a major
item in household expenses.
    
In short it cuts both sources of economic growth.
    
The bite is felt by both sectors, but consumers endure the most painful cut.
    
And so an enraged consumer group has slammed the new power rate hike of the Manila
Electric Company for March and April.
    
Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas Secretary General Aya Jallorina said Meralco could not
hide its abuse and opportunism anymore since its power rate is the highest in Asia.
    
Meralco announced the additional P0.85 per kWh in power rate this March and the additional
P0.12 per kWh in April.
    
“Sobra na, tama na ang dagdag-singil sa kuryente na patuloy na nagpapahirap sa publiko,”
said Jallorina.
    
ABP alleged that aside from the still unexplained power rate adjustment and overcharging,
among others, the power distribution firm is reportedly involved in a “power cartel” since it
allegedly managed to manipulate the cost of power supply in the country.
    
An example is the “sweetheart deal” Meralco allegedly entered into to purchase electricity
from seven independent power producers which include the Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. (RPE),
Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E), St. Raphael Power Generation Corp. (SRPGC), Central Luzon
Premiere Power Corp. (CLPPC), Mariveles Power Generation Corp. (MPGC), Panay Energy Devt. Corp.
(PEDC) and Global Luzon Energy Devt. Corp. (GLEDC).
        
Research conducted by ABP showed that the Meralco PowerGen Corporation has “significant
shares” in the seven power plants. The firm is a corporation of Meralco involved in the setting up
of power plants in different parts of the Philippines.
        
The ABP claimed that there is a clear indication that Meralco is involved in a power
cartel because it would buy electricity from plants which it owns or has “significant shares” in.
 
“There is power cartel sa atin ngayon, kasi itong Meralco PowerGen is actually Meralco,
sister company sila. Although allowed ang cross-ownership, itong Meralco PowerGen ay mayroong up
to 80 percent shares or ownership, na dapat ay hanggang 60 percent lang sa mga power generation
company kung saan bumibili ng electricity supply ang Meralco,” said Jallorina.