Don't pay higher power rate, DTI tells consumers

By Louella Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 28 2014 04:07 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2014 12:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Consumers should only pay current electric charges due this month even though the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) included the power rate hike in the bill, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said yesterday.

“Only the current amount for February must be paid,” DTI consumer protection group officer-in-charge Victorio Mario Dimagiba said in a text message.

He said DTI met with Meralco yesterday amid the confusion caused by the inclusion of the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate hike in this month’s electric bill.

He said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) also asked Meralco to explain within five days why the rate hike was included in the bill.

He assured the public that the DTI would continue to monitor developments on the issue.

The ERC announced earlier that it had approved a staggered billing scheme for the implementation of the increase in the generation charge in three phases to ease its impact on households.

The increase in generation charge was a result of the month-long maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya facility, which supplies natural gas to three power plants in Luzon, and with combined capacity of 2,700 megawatts.

The power plants have no choice but to use more expensive fuel to run the plants because of the shutdown.

The Supreme Court recently extended the temporary restraining order it issued in December on the power rate increase.