People should militate against Meralco rate hike

August 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sparrows should look into the plan of Meralco to raise their electricity rates this month.

After reporting a stellar year of profits, the utility company now wants to get more from us by raising their rates. Meralco has reported a consolidated core income of 5.8 billion. Fact is, Meralco reported a 169% jump in net income in 2009 and is targetting another 3% growth by the end of 2010.

Meralco’s energy sales has even jumped to 14% in the first quarter of 2010 alone. And it attributes its sales jump to the increased prices in the WESM. Meaning, the WESM is actually giving Meralco astronomical income jump. The Commission on Audit (COA) even said that it is not justified for Meralco to increase its rates since it already collected more than 6 billion pesos from its customers.

What Meralco wants is for its consumers to finance even its personnel salaries which is now at 2 billion. What? Why will the consumers bear the cost of Meralco’s executives and workers?

Meralco is not losing money. Fact is, it expects a further increase in income due to the rise of demand from the industrial sector (18.8%) and following, the residential sector (16.3%). Meralco even reported a very good income statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange. see link.

Let me give you why it is not justified for Meralco to increase its rates. Since its profits grew more than 12%, which is the allowed limit for Meralco in terms of profit, it is not justified for it to even salivate for another price increase. See a very interesting discussion here.

Even if Meralco is buying a higher rate from the WESM, it is still not justified for it to increase its rates since its profits have soared to the multi-billions since 2007, according to the COA report.

Meralco admits that NAPOCOR has sold power to them in a lower rate than before, but because of the rise of power rates in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, Meralco, as they say, has no choice but to raise electricity rates by 44 centavos.

The Energy department should abolish this WESM and instead, control the market. It can do so under its police powers and driven by public interest.

Instead of just providing government with an explanation, the Energy secretary Jose Almendras should ask WESM to justify why government should even allow its extended existence. The existence of WESM is beginning to harm the country and acting against the welfare of the People.

This is too much already. Meralco should even be divested of its franchise to operate a utility firm. Meralco is raking so much profits from us and they had the gall to tell us that they are raising electricity rates.

We already have the highest electricity rates in the region. Another electricity hike would affect businesses, not just households.

Government should look into this because this might be a clear case of sabotage. Remember that Meralco is now controlled by Pangilinan, who looks towards his Malaysian bosses more than he looks downward, to us, his fellow Filipinos.

How will we be able to recover from the economic slump with a very high electricity rate? How will we be able to transform this country into a viable investment site if prices here are higher than our neighbours in the region?

The Malaysian investors behind Pangilinan’s “successful” takeover of Meralco are probably dictating this to their Filipino counterpart. They want our country to remain uncompetitive. It is probably time for Filipinos to regain Meralco from the clutches of foreign interference.

People should militate against Meralco if they push thru with their plan to raise electricity rates this month.

If the Aquino administration refuses to interfere with this issue or is helpless, then, I urge every Filipino to militate against Meralco by turning their lights off on August 30.

Let us express our collective disgusts against Meralco and to Manny Pangilinan, who is posturing as someone who cares for us, his fellow Filipinos, but continues to follow the dictates of his Malaysian overlords in Kuala Lumpur.


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