SC extends anew TRO on power rate hike

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

THE Supreme Court (SC) has indefinitely extended the temporary restraining order on the record-high generation charge to be passed on to the consumers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

The 60-stay order would have expired on Tuesday but militant lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc sought for extension last week, saying the Meralco, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and power plants should be prevented from causing “grave and irreparable injury” to some five million electricity customers in Metro Manila and parts of Luzon.

The motion, which the SC granted in a session in Baguio City on Tuesday, was filed by party-list representatives from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT and Kabataan.

Ten justices backed the indefinite TRO, four opposed and one abstained.
Among the issues petitioners have assailed before the SC is the ERC's rule that allows Meralco to impose the generation cost as an automatic pass-through charge to its customers.

This was the ERC's basis for allowing Meralco to come up with an unprecedented P4.15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate hike last December.

The Court blocked the implementation of the rate hike through a 60-day TRO on December 23, 2013, which was extended on February 18 for another two months or until Tuesday. (Sunnex)

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