SC extends TRO on power rate hike until April

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MANILA -- Customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) will not shoulder the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate hike for another two months, the Supreme Court (SC) said Tuesday.

In a press briefing, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said the Court decided to extend the validity of the temporary restraining order (TRO) until April 22 in response to the motion filed last week by militant lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

The TRO issued last December 23 was set to expire on February 23.

"The TRO extension is a most welcome development. It validates our position that the imposition of the P4.15 rate is illegal and constitutional," said petitioner Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon, a member of the Makabayan bloc.

The bloc feared that the expiration of the TRO will add billions of pesos to the production cost of manufacturers under the Meralco franchise, which will result in a steep rise in the prices of goods and services sold all over the country.

Meralco distributes power to the country's economic center, Metro Manila, and some parts of the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Quezon and Batangas.

The Court also issued another 60-day TRO preventing Masinloc Power Partners Co Ltd of AES Philippines, San Miguel Energy Corporation, South Premiere Power Corporation and First Gas Power Corporation, transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) from demanding and collecting payment for services rendered to Meralco.

Meralco had warned of rotating brownouts during summer if unpaid fuel suppliers, which were previously not covered by the TRO, refuse to generate electricity. (Sunnex)

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