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Sunday, February 16, 2014

House Leaders Back Indefinite TRO on Meralco Rate Hike

The move to extend indefinitely the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the imposition of a Php 4.15 per Kilowatt-Hour (kwh) rate increase on generation charges by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) continues to draw support. Yesterday House of Representative leaders joined the clamor for the indefinite TRO on the Power Rate increase. The Supreme Court (SC) had earlier issued a 60-Day TRO on Meralco's Php 4.15 per Kwh rate increase bu the temporary freeze is set to expire on Feb. 21, 2014. Oriental Rep. Umali, House of Committee on Energy Chairman said the High Court should quickly resolve the issue of power rate hike so the power sector won't be kept hanging. He likewise renewed his call to the investigating unit of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) not to procrastinate and to immediately complete it's investigation into the alleged collusion and market abuse by the power producers. House Speaker Belmonte jr. agreed with Umali that the SC "Shouldn't take it's sweet time" on the petition seeking to indefinitely bar the implementation of the power rate hike. Belmonte assured that the Lower Chamber is flexing it's muscle to discuss ways to address the skyrocketing power rates in the country. The petitioners who include Makabayan bloc members explained that without the TRO Meralco would be able to deprive it's customers of Php 22.64 Billion in additional generation costs, which they described as "grave and irreparable injury" to it's 5.3 Million power consumers. The SC concluded it's oral arguments on the petitions against Meralco's rate adjustment and the counter-petition filed by Meralco who sought to immediately lifting of the TRO as it warned about the impending power outages.    
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