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ERC meets with Gabriela over power rate hike

Top officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Thursday morning held a dialogue with members of Gabriela after the women’s group trooped to ERC’s office to protest the April power rates hike.

ERC chairperson Zenaida Ducut, Commissioner Alfredo Non, Commissioner Gloria Victoria Taruc, and Commissioner Josefina Patricia Asirit were all present during the talks.

Earlier this month, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) announced that an P0.89 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) hike will be imposed this April.

Meralco said the new hike was due to higher generation charge or power cost being imposed by power producers to distribution utilities.

Gabriela is one of the groups that have consistently opposed power rate hikes.

Meanwhile, militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Thursday morning picketed outside the office of Meralco in Kamuning, Quezon City, to slam the approved power hike. (Jomari Guillermo)

  • Emmi de Jesus

    Gabriela solons to ERC: Put a stop to collusion and protect consumers

    Militant women trooped to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) main office in Pasig City today, with their sectoral representatives Gabriela solons De Jesus and Ilagan, in a protest and dialogue with the commission’s full en-banc board session over the incessant power rate increases assaulting consumers served by the Meralco power franchise.

    Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus joined a hundred women to press the ERC stop entertaining petitions for rate increases without its independent computation.

    “Sa halip na mahigpit na siyasatin ng ERC ang bawat petisyon ng mga generating companies na magtaas ng presyo, sinusuhayan nito ang hangarin ng Meralco na pagkakitaan ang power distribution. Sa ganitong kalagayn wala tayong aasahan sa gobyernong ito kung hindi tuluy-tuloy na pagtaas ng singil sa kuryente,” Rep. De Jesus told the protesting crowd assembled outside the commission office.

    The ERC was forced by widespread public protests into recomputing the excessive January billing rate hike approved previously at PhP 4.56, and became 45 centavos. Rep. Ilagan saidERC can protect the consumers and regulate the market if it wanted to but it has failed to do that in the past until forced by protests

    “Gabriela is here to support its constuents and remind the ERC of the role of government and government agencies to protect consumer rights. It should not focus its energy in promoting competition because it is clear and records reveal that competition does not and wil never ensure low rates and consumer protection. In fact, all the power players from generation to distribution show interlocking directorates that smell suspiciously of collusion and allow gencos to toy with supply and demand, making consumers pay exhorbitant rates,” Ilagan said.