Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares and electric consumers advocacy group Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumers Alliance Inc. (MSK) have urged Meralco to refund the P29.6 billion it owes to consumers for its over recovery of allowed annual distribution charges to consumers from 2013 to 2018.
“With the P50 billion anomaly exposed by former Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Commissioner Alfredo Non and now this P29.6 over recovery of Meralco, it can be seen that this monopoly in the power sector has so much anomalies to the disadvantage of consumers. Congress should also probe this issue and ensure that this would never happen again. Meralco has been involved in many questionable acts like the unjust power rate hike in 2013 during the Malampaya shutdown and the midnight deals on seven power supply agreements (PSAs) that an investigation should be in order,” Colmenares was quoted as saying in an Inquirer report.
MSK Executive Director Aya Jallorina petitioned to the ERC to reduce Meralco’s distribution, service, and metering (DSM) rate charges in relation to the P29.6 B refund.
Rappler reported that Colmenares and MSK urged the Congress to investigate the firm’s “questionable acts,” reiterating MSK’s petition to the ERC in late 2019. However, the regulatory body blocked the request claiming that Meralco used outdated figures in calculating the distribution rate it charged consumers from 2013 to 2018.
As expressed by Jallorina to Inquirer, Meralco’s current rate was computed in 2013 and was based on lower energy sales of 30.61 B kilowatt-hour (kWh) a year and an annual growth of 3.5 percent. In the last nine years, Meralco sales have been increasing at an average of 6.78 percent per year, resulting to a windfall of an estimated P29.6 B in revenues up to 2018.
“This is grossly unfair and amounts to exploitation of the unsuspecting [electricity] consumers,” Jallorina was quoted as saying to Rappler.