DOJ probe on Meralco rate hike ongoing

March 15, 2014 8:35 am 

MANILA, March 14 — The investigation by the Department of Justice on the issue of big-time power rate hike of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) in December last year is still ongoing.

This is despite the announcement by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that the increase in the power rate was the result of the refusal of some power plants to offer energy capacity to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima said on Friday that the investigation by the Office for Competition of the DOJ is pursuant to their mandate "to protect the interest of the consumers."

De Lima said that it is still necessary to determine whether there was an abuse committed on the part of the power firms or whether there was "anti-competitive behavior in the electricity market."

De Lima added that it should be ascertained that there was competition in the power industry so that the pricing of electricity cannot be dictated.

Some groups led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) earlier filed a complaint before the DOJ in connection with the alleged "collusion" of some power companies that resulted in the increase of P4.15 per kilowatt-hour in the Meralco power rate last December. (PNA)

SCS/PTR

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