Escudero says best option to end power rate hike is a TRO from the SC

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Dec 11 (PNA) — The Supreme Court may issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) if the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will not moderate its power rate hike, Sen. Francis Escudero said Wednesday.

Escudero explained that the increase in power rates was already an “abuse” of the automatic increase provision granted to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) by the ERC.

Meralco is charging P4.15 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) beginning this month, which was dubbed as its highest-ever power rate hike that raised public complaints.

The hike will cost an additional P830 to the monthly billing of consumers using an average of 200 kHw.

“Taking this to court and asking for a TRO is the closest, legal and soundest option available now,” Escudero told Senate reporters.

He said that Meralco could not even justify its increase and that because it was too quick to impose a price hike, a quicker to refund the consumers should follow.

“I hope this increase will be short-lived and hopefully will be stopped via the intervention of courts,” he further said.

Following Sen. Aquilino Trillanes IV’s filing of a resolution for a probe of the power hike last Tuesday, Escudero welcomed it, saying that it would also allow Meralco, the ERC and the Department of Energy to explain the reason for their practice.

He said that the Senate had time for the probe, especially since the 2014 national budget has already been passed and ratified and taken off the Senate’s load. (PNA)