DTI Opposes Meralco Hike
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will oppose the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ruling allowing Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to raise its rates as much as 36 percent. Presidential Management Staff (PMS) head Cerge Remonde said that the DTI is preparing a motion for reconsideration to the issue, but declined to elaborate.
He only said the planned motion for reconsideration stemmed from the complaints of small businessmen that the power rate hike may force them to shut down operations. There were also militant groups scored the power rate hike and also the government for allowing it. They said the present administration stands to gain much from the power rate hike because of the value-added tax (VAT) it can collect.
The approval of ERC to the petition of Meralco will increase the monthly bill of residential consumers by up to 36 percent. Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, noted that in the last two years, government has collected around P6 billion in VAT on electricity distribution. Yet, he also said the ERC order for Meralco to refund its customers around 14.61 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) a month will not appease the people affected by the rate hike.