Consumer groups call for congressional inquiry on Meralco; Meralco to follow ERC
SUKI asks for Congressional inquiry on Meralco as Meralco vows to adhere to regulator’s guidelines
MANILA – A consumer group called on lawmakers to look into the exorbitant fees charged by Meralco on its consumers and on a pending bill to allow full foreign ownership of public utilities.
In a virtual briefing Thursday afternoon, Atty. Neri Colmenares said the charges “doubled, tripled and even quadrupled” during its May billing. He also called on lawmakers to require the power firm to drop unnecessary charges especially at this time when the general public reels from COVID-19 and the government’s quarantine policies.
“Most of us have not even hurled our way out of two months of lockdown that disrupted our work and incomes. Millions of Filipinos had – some still don’t have work nor pay,’ consumer group Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Konsyumer sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan (SUKI) said in a separate statement.
The group said they find Meralco’s explanations “unjustifiable” as the experiences range from sheer accumulation of three months of bills even for those with minimum consumption, or average rates increasing, to residents being billed with commercial rates, unused spaces warranting hiked bills too and many other variations in between.
They claimed Meralco “indifferently” added to the burden and unbearable stress that consumers carry.
SUKI is an umbrella group composed of the Alliance for Consumer Protection, Bantay Bigas, Bantay Konsyumer, Kuryente at Kalsada (BKKK), Bayan Muna, Ecuvoice Women, GABRIELA among others.
Meanwhile, Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said they continue to work with government “to find ways to make it easier for consumers to cope with their electricity bills or costs.
“We will follow all the guidelines that will be stipulated by the regulator. Part of that is the installment scheme ordered by the regulator to help all power consumers,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said in a text message to this writer. (Melo M. Acuña)
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (left) (Screen grab from SUKI Virtual briefing) and Meralco Spokesman Jose Zaldarriaga (Melo Acuna/File Photo)