Solon calls for congressional inquiry on Meralco billings

System loss charges may soon be removed from electric bills

Quezon City Rep. Jesus “ Bong” Suntay has called for a congressional inquiry after the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) allegedly increased its electricity rates to “more than double” its usual monthly charges in the most recent billing period.

“I am shocked by information being given to us by some Meralco customers that the amounts charged on the electric bill they have received during the months covered by the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) have doubled,” Suntay was quoted in a report.

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate accused Meralco of prioritizing “its profits” while Filipino consumers are faced with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles ordered an explanation for the price hike.

Nograles added that Meralco should submit its explanation to the House Committee on Energy, where he is vice chairman.

‘There’s a brewing concern and complaints on the spiking (amounts shown in electric meter) reading and billings,” Nograles said.

There have been allegedly “no actual readings” in some areas. The averaging method, as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), was apparently used instead by distributors, according to the power bloc which is composed of partylist lawmakers representing electric cooperatives and groups.

Nograles added that the ill-timed electricity rates hike aggravated the suffering of ordinary Filipinos.

Zarate added that Meralco is taking advantage of consumers to increase profits.

“While Meralco refused to waive the one month electricity bill for consumers it is at the same time crucifying the consumers with another power rate hike during this time of crisis caused by covid19,” said Zarate.