SC urged to expand power rate hike TRO to cover gencos

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2014 02:20 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2014 10:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - One of the petitioners against Meralco's unprecedented P4.15 per kilowatt hour rate adjustment filed on Monday its amended petition, urging the Supreme Court (SC) to restrain the generation companies (GenCos) supplying power to Meralco from collecting the latest increase in generation charge.

The spike in generation charge at P3.44, plus the corresponding value-added tax (VAT), was cited by Meralco as the reason for its controversial power rate adjustment.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, et al. urged the high court to expand the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued last Dec. 23 against the staggered power rate increase to cover generation companies SEC-Calaca Power Corp., Masinloc Power Partners Corp., Therma Luzon, Inc., San Miguel Energy Corp., South Premiere Power Corp., and Therma Mobile Inc.

Bayan Muna's plea for TRO also covers the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), which performs as the market operator/administrator and governance arm of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

"[C]onsidering that said generation charge is the main basis of the rate increase previously enjoined by this Honorable Court, it is but proper and just to restrain its implementation in order to afford petitioners and the public effective injunctive relief."

"The previous TRO must be completed by an order from this Honorable Court temporarily restraining GenCos from collecting the generation charge pending the resolution of this petition," Bayan Muna said.

Bayan Muna warned that if the generation comapnies are not prevented from collecting the 'unjustly automatic pass-through' generation charge from Meralco, the latter will pass this on to consumers.

"Should respondent Meralco give in to these GenCos payment demands, it is the Petitioners and the public who will suffer grave and irreparable injury because said imposition will merely be passed through to the public.

"Respondents GenCos must therefore be enjoined from imposing or exacting payment for its unjust and unlawful generation charge," Bayan Muna said.

The other petitioner in the consolidated cases is the National Association of Eletricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore); Anakpawis filed a separate similar petition.

The high court has set oral arguments on the petitions on Jan. 21.