Consumer rights advocates welcomed the unexpected cut in electricity rates announced recently by Meralco, at a time when rates traditionally skyrocket because of lean supply.
“Consumers will appreciate lower electric bills especially now that we are heavily burdened with rising cost of commodities and fuel,” said Dindo Manhit, President of independent think tank Stratbase ADR Institute.
Meralco announced a reduction in electricity rates amounting to P0.5436 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a typical household for the month of May.
This is good news and this should be sustained to support the government’s development plans which would need more power plants to ensure stable power supply for increasing demand, Manhit said.
The adjustment is due to the P0.4212 per kWh decrease in generation charge to P5.0523 per kWh from P5.4735 per kWh in April, bringing the overall rate to P10.0041 per kWh, Meralco said in a statement.
This reduced rate translates to a decrease of P109 in the monthly bill of a typical household consuming 200 kWh.
CitizenWatch Philippines Convenor Atty Hannah Viola in a statement said, “It is laudable that despite the increasing trend of commodities, the price of electricity has gone down, but to ensure that the concerns of the end-users to affordable and reliable power are fully addressed, CitizenWatch Philippines calls for the chain method of cutting down the costs of electricity,”
“The challenge for the power industry is to not break this chain. Cooperation among government and private sectors is key to solving this issue,” she added.
To achieve this, streamlining regulatory procedures on the part of government should work hand in hand with the fast-tracking of the Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of pending power plant applications, the group said.
A positive step is the recent issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of Executive Order No. 30, which aims to streamline the regulatory procedures affecting energy projects of national significance, For the industry players, unwarranted increase of should always be tempered and the entry of new plants should be coupled with the maintenance and repair of the old ones.
“While there is sense of solace in the decrease of electricity prices this month, the campaign for the lowering of power costs remains to be a long-term goal which requires continuance and consistency in action,” she added.