SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano expressed gratitude to Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for heeding the people’s call to lower electricity rates.
Cayetano led the House of Representatives in calling on Meralco to find ways to cushion high power charges.
“Many of our kababayans — whether poor or middle class — currently have no means of livelihood due the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we’re grateful to Meralco for heeding the House’s call to do something more to help lessen the daily burden of our kababayans,” Cayetano said in a statement.
From P8.6966 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) due in July, the electricity bills of Meralco consumers will see a P0.2055 per kWh decrease in August. As a result, consumers can save from P41 to P103 depending on their kwh consumption.
Earlier, Cayetano appealed to Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Senior Vice President Atty. William Pamintuan to look into the possibility of giving a 50 percent discount to “at least the sectors that need it most” or delaying the payment of electricity bills.
According to Cayetano, while he acknowledges the goal of all businesses is to thrive financially, he requested Meralco, which he said has “had its share of profitability” as it has been serving Greater Manila, to continue exploring options to ease its payment collection.
“I know you’re already doing things for that group, ‘yung (the) lifeline [discount], ‘no, but pakitingnan lang, Sir, kung meron pa tayong maaambag (please see if you can contribute more)... I’m sure President Duterte will also very much appreciate it,” Cayetano said in his manifestation during one of the hearings conducted by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
Lifeline discount is a discount given by Meralco to low-income consumers using less than 100 kilowatt-hours a month.
The Committee sought to come up with a measure to lower electricity rates, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cayetano said the Congressional inquiries helped bring the issues and complaints raised by ordinary consumers to the concerned institutions.
This prompted Meralco to shoulder the P47 convenience fee per transaction for digital payments and to allow four- to six-month instalment payments. Meralco also wrote customized letters to consumers explaining their May bills based on actual meter readings.
According to Meralco, the rate reduction in August was due to lower prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) that went down by P1.12 per kWh due to fewer power plant outages.
There was also a decrease in the cost of supply from independent power producers (IPPs).
Since January this year, Meralco has implemented a total of P1.37 per KwH worth of reduction in power rates.
Meanwhile, Cayetano said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has an important role to play in lowering electricity rates.