Consumer, energy groups rally vs. MERALCO rate hike

Meralco Rally

Even during the Holy Week, consumers and energy advocacy groups led by Power for People Coalition (P4P) rallied against the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and other power firms following the utility giant’s announcement of another rate hike.

Members of P4P re-enacted the scenes leading to the crucifixion of Jesus (photo above) in front of MERALCO’s headquarters in Pasig City on Holy Wednesday.

“We have been telling MERALCO and power companies all along that their insisting on coal, gas, and other fossil fuels for our power supply is an electricity affordability disaster. Consumers once again pay the price of their failure to listen,” said P4P convenor Gerry Arances.

Last week, MERALCO announced a Php0.5363 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase in its April 2022 billing, its highest increase for the year so far. 

P4P said that MERALCO customers consuming 200kWh have been paying Php265.45 more versus April 2021’s billing. 

“MERALCO must stop making light of its choosing expensive energy from coal and gas merely because any additional charges from their volatilities are simply passed onto us,” said Partido Lakas ng Masa partylist nominee Flora Assiddao Santos. 

P4P added that it would be keeping an eye on MERALCO’s hearings with the Energy Regulatory Commission regarding its rate true-up, which could “possibly place at stake a whole past decade of overbilling and billions of withheld refunds for consumers.” 

“We are watching eagle-eyed over this as, if there is truth to concerns being surfaced, Meralco’s greed proves to be an unspeakable injustice against consumers barely getting by in today’s economic climate,” said Sanlakas national president Manjette Lopez. 

Also last week, consumers tore apart their electricity bills as part of a call for power players to lower their rates. They have also called on the next administration to prioritize “lowering exorbitant electricity prices” and put an end to “unfair charges” from energy companies.