OSG: It’s the duty of Meralco to defend before SC questions on power rate hike

January 8, 2014 11:27 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 8 — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court (SC) that it is the duty of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to defend questions on the record high of P4.15 per kilowatthour power rate increase.

In its seven-page manifestation and motion, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said that they should be excused from standing on behalf of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) who were merely impleaded in various petitions against power rate hike as nominal parties.

Nominal parties are those whose presence is merely required in the case.

The DOE was included as respondent because part of its mandate is to integrate, coordinate, supervise and control all plans, programs, projects and activities of the government in connection with energy exploration, development, utilization, distribution and conservation while the ERC, under the law, is tasked to promote competition in energy distribution, among others.

“Inasmuch as public respondents ERC and DOE are impleaded in the two petitions merely as nominal parties, they are not required to file comment as provided [under the Rules of Court],” Jardeleza said.

“It is the duty of private respondent Meralco to appear and defend, in its behalf and that of public respondents, unless public respondents are specifically directed by this Honorable Court,” he added.

The ERC and the DOE are co-respondents of Meralco in the separate petitions filed by Bayan Muna et.al., National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) and Anakpawis et. al.

In the various petitions, they said that the ERC abused its discretion in provisionally approving the proposal of Meralco to increase the power rate without affording customers the right to be heard. (PNA)

FPV/PTR/UTB

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