MANILA — About 7.5 million customers will be affected by the temporary relief on the power supply agreement between South Premier Power Corp. and Manila Electric Co., the state energy regulator said Monday.
According to Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta, customers of Meralco's franchise area in Metro Manila and adjacent areas will be exposed to higher electricity prices.
"We are talking about 7.5 million consumers that will be affected if and when the TRO (temporary restraining order) is implemented," she told ANC's "Headstart".
The Court of Appeals issued on November 24 a TRO on the PSA between SPPC, a subsidiary of listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp., and Meralco.
The request for a temporary relief stemmed from the ERC's decision in September rejecting the joint petition of SPPC and Meralco for a power rate hike.
The SMC has claimed that the Sual Coal and Ilijan Natural Gas power facilities of its energy arm SMC Global Power Holdings Corp had incurred losses of P15 billion since 2021 due to high coal prices.
But the regulatory body noted that the PSA is fixed in nature, and the grounds for increase cited by SPPC and Meralco were not among the exceptions that would allow for price adjustment.
Because of the fixed-price PSA of Meralco with SPPC, which covers 670 megawatts of supply, Dimalanta said consumers had been shielded from the volatility of prices from WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) and automatic fuel pass-through PSAs.
"Of course, what we want is to shield all consumers, not just Meralco consumers from the increase in prices," she said. "But if we are really going to face increase in prices, we want them to be based in law and based in the actual cost incurred."
The ERC joined President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's hope the appellate court would reconsider its decision.
"We continue to hope and we remain confident that the Court of Appeals will see the basis for our decision and recognize it as a valid decision," Dimalanta said.