MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has given Meralco the go signal to increase electricity rates starting this April.
Meralco described the higher generation charge as long overdue, explaining that independent power producers could have passed on the additional cost to consumers in May last year.
The country’s biggest power distributor added that the summer season usually sees a peak in energy consumption, with households posting a higher demand for electricity with children on vacation. (from GMA Network)
According to Engr. Nixon Hao, Vice President and Head for Energy Management at Meralco, besides the above conditions, they have also decided to recoup the expected loss that the company will incur during World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour.
On March 31, 2012 (Saturday), WWF is again staging Earth Hour to inspire millions of Filipinos to switch off their lights from 8:30 – 9:30PM. 2012 marks a key difference from past switch-offs, for the focus shall be on what transpires beyond the hour itself.
This year, WWF-Philippines is upping the ante. Not one – but three simultaneous WWF Earth Hour switch-off ceremonies shall be held – one each for the cities of Makati, Cebu and Davao. (from WWF About page)
“If Metro Manila will switch off their lights and appliances for a whole hour, the loss to our profits would be staggering,” said Hao. “Add to that Cebu and Davao, and we are seeing billions of billions of overcharged profits being taken away from us,” added the engineer.
He also stated the fact that Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited’s Big Night will be happening tonight at the Quirino Grandstand where they expect to consume lots of electricity, due to the intricate setup of lights and sounds for the grand finale. PBB Unlimited is shown on ABS-CBN channel 2, a sister company of Meralco.
A WWF Philippines volunteer noticed the coincidence of the two events happening on the same night and an hour apart, albeit the intent of the 2 events to be contradictory and ironic.
Hao said a financial loss of that magnitude might have great implications to its services as well as to the consumers, hence the rate adjustment.
“Being the Philippines’ largest distributor of electrical power, and the only one in Metro Manila at that; the ERC has no choice but to approve our request,” added Hao. “We don’t want to be forced to come up with another power crisis similar to what’s happening in Mindanao, do we?”
Mindanao has been practicing ‘Earth Hour’ for the past couple of years, albeit forcibly; as the region suffers from horrendous eight-hour blackouts. The House of Representatives has yet to act on the matter, as over 40 bills and resolutions are left unattended or have failed to conduct hearings, despite the looming power crisis.