Hinikayat ng Bayan Muna ang Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) na ipabalik sa Manila Electric Company (Meralco) sa kanilang konsyumers ang bahagi ng 108 billion ‘overcharges, over-recoveries at bill deposits na nakolekta nitong nakalipas na mga taon.
“This huge amount of money should have been refunded to Meralco’s customers years ago. In this time of great difficulty and need, it is unconscionable for Meralco to continue holding on to these funds that do not belong to it anyway,” ayon kay Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares.
Nakakadismaya umano na hanggang sa ngayon ay hindi pa inaaksiyunan ng ERC ang ginawang mga paglabag ng Meralco sa kabila ng maraming natatanggap na reklamo mula sa mga konsyumers.
“Meralco should do the proper and honorable thing by just returning the money to the rightful owners and applying it as payment or a Meralco Covid-19 Buffer Fund for electricity consumed during the enhanced community quarantine,” giit ng Bayan Muna leader.
Aniya, tila nagbibingi-bingihan at tikom lamang ang bibig ng Meralco sa napakaraming reklamong ibinabato sa kanila kaya kailangang mismong ERC na ang mag-utos sa kumpanya na ibalik ang sobrang binayaran sa electricity bills sa kanilang mga konsyumer.
“The return of these amounts should not stop the ERC from forcing Meralco to refund also excess charges that it has imposed during the period when we were under an enhanced community quarantine,” ani Colmenares.
“Meralco cannot even claim the return of these funds as its donation, because the money is owned by the customers in the first place. ERC should prioritize enforcing the return of the customers’ money now when millions of Filipinos are displaced from work and cut from their source of livelihood,” dagdag pa ng Bayan Muna chairman.
Samantala, sinabi naman ni House Deputy Minority leader at Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, ang P40 hanggang P50 bilyon na labis na singil ng Meralco sa pagitan ng 2003 at 2019, at P29.6 bilyon ‘over-recoveries’ mula 2013 hanggang 2018 at karagdagang P29 bilyong Meralco bill deposits nitong 2018, na kung maibabalik lamang agad sa kanilang mga konsyumer ay malaking tulong na ito lalo na ngayong panahon ng krisis dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic.
“No less than Alfredo Non, former ERC commissioner, blew the whistle in January this year and exposed the P40 billion to P50 billion in Meralco overcharges. The former electricity regulator said that Meralco padded the cost of its assets to justify over-recovery collections for more than a decade and a half,” paliwanag ni Zarate.
“In addition to that overcharging, Bayan Muna and the group Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente also earlier found out that, between 2013 and 2018, Meralco likewise made its customers pay a larger share of distribution cost by basing this cost on lower 3.5 percent sales growth projection and lower annual electricity sales of 30.61 billion kilowatt-hours,”dagdag pa ng ng progresibong solon. (Dolly B. Cabreza)