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Byline: Abigail L. Ho
BARELY A WEEK AFTER APproving the new rate structure of Manila Electric Co., the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) told the distribution utility that it could no longer implement a rate increase scheduled for November.
The ERC about-face came after various groups assailed it for allowing the Lopez-owned company to raise distribution, supply and metering charges next month while ordering the utility to refund customers P3.9 billion in overcharges.
The charges would have raised by an average of 14 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) the monthly bills of Meralcos 4.5 million customers in 25 cities and 86 municipalities. The firms service area, including Metro Manila, has some 22 million people, about a quarter of the Philippine population.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption called the increase another clear act of systematic mulcting by Meralco and ERC of the long-suffering Filipino consumer.
In an eight-page order, the ERC yesterday said the implementation of the rate increase depended on the …