Press Release
January 16, 2014

Power rate hike freeze sought for other Luzon coops

Metro Manila residents welcome with a sigh of relief the Supreme Court TRO on the Meralco increase in power rates.

But why single out Meralco? Hindi naman ito lang ang nagtaas ng singil na kuryente. Coops across Luzon also did.

So if temporary reprieve was given to Meralco customers, the same must be granted to customers of other distribution utilities (DUs) similarly situated.

Many coops and DUs bought the power at a price deemed outrageous, and like Meralco passed this on to their customers. In short, they drew water from the same well but it is only Meralco which is being restrained from recovering the cost.

Coops in Luzon purchased power from the same small group of generators apparently for the same price that Meralco did. If that is the case, can the judicial protection granted to Meralco customers be extended to consumers in other service areas as well?

Kung sakop ng TRO ang mga may kaya sa Forbes Park, bakit di saklaw ang mga mahihirap sa mga liblib na lugar? Di hamak naman mas mayaman ang NCR kesa sa ibang rehiyon, ayon na mismo sa datos ng gobyerno.

Although the biggest in terms of customer base, Meralco's franchise area does not cover the whole of Luzon. Meralco's franchise area covers only 40% of Luzon or 5.189 million customers.

By legislative edict, Meralco's franchise area stops at Tayabas City, Quezon in the South, and Candaba, Pampanga in the North. Big provinces like Batangas, Pampanga, and Pangasinan are outside its coverage which make their residents outside the scope of the Supreme Court TRO, too.

There must be one rule for the whole grid. There must be equal relief for all.

I will leave it to the lawyers, especially government lawyers, to recommend ways on how to expand the TRO to cooperatives and DUs which increased rates based on the same circumstances present in the case of Meralco.

In the meantime, in the legislative inquiry on the Meralco power increase, I urge Congress to likewise look into the case of the other coops and DUs in Luzon.

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