Meralco should absorb power rate hike due to tax reform - lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2018 06:07 PM | Updated as of Sep 01 2018 01:47 AM

MANILA - (UPDATED) A lawmaker on Thursday said power distributor Meralco should absorb the upcoming electricity rate hike to be caused by the tax reform law.

Meralco rates are expected to increase by about P0.75 per kilowatt hour in February, as the company expects to offset the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, including value-added tax on transmission charge.

"Noong isang taon din ay kumita ng mga P19.2 bilyon ang Meralco kaya, kayang-kaya nitong saluhin ang itataas ng TRAIN," Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a statement.

"Kung tutuusin, dapat nga ay doblehin pa nga ang dapat ibalik ng Meralco dahil sa danyos at perwisyo na idinulot nila sa mga consumers," he added.

Zarate said the power distributor should also refund its customers its excessive charges following the 2013 Malampaya shutdown, which he estimated to be P1.2 billion.

"Ito ang hirap sa tax reform package law ng gobyerno dahil ipinapasa lang talaga ito ng mga kumpanya sa mga consumers. Kaya naman din hindi nagreklamo ang mga kumpanya noong pinagdedebatehan ang TRAIN," he said.

The government is implementing higher taxes on fuel, sugar-sweetened drinks and cars from Jan. 1 to offset a reduction in personal income tax rates and help fund President Rodrigo Duterte's P8-trillion infrastructure program.

Inflation in January rose to 4 percent in January, the fastest pace in over 3 years.

Inflationary effects from tax reform would be minimal and transitory, said Duterte's economic managers, as they warned businessmen against profiteering. - with RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News