ERC: Batalec 1 has no permission to start prepaid electricity scheme

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2013 05:51 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2013 01:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) says BATELEC 1 has not yet obtained permission to start commercial operations of its prepaid electricity scheme.

ERC executive director Francis Juan says the commission will find out whether there was indeed a commercial run and ask BATELEC 1 to explain why it pushed through with the project without the needed nod from the regulator.

The system was scheduled to begin today in Barangay Camastisan, Calaca in Batangas.

Meanwhile, the ERC confirmed Meralco will pursue its own prepaid electricity system, which has reportedly been in a pilot test stage since December 2012.

According to several Meralco soucres, the pilot test of the scheme was started in December in the homes of several Meralco employees in Angono, Rizal.

Meralco officials refused to comment saying the company will hold a press briefing on January 21. 

Meanwhile, Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga refutes the assertion of Gabriela that the Philippines has the highest electricity rate in Asia.

According to Zaldarriaga, the country ranks second to Japan and 9th worldwide among countries with expensive electricity rates.

Zaldarriaga also clarifies that only 16% of the total electricity bill goes to the utility. Meralco's residential rates is more than  P10/kwh.