Casiño to ERC: Suspend overpriced PSALM charges

PARTY-LISTt Rep. Teddy Casiño called on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to suspend the overcharging and unnecessary fees imposed by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), already amounting P9.1 billion and charged to Meralco customers as of May 2012.

He also called on the regulatory body to immediately order a refund to Meralco’s roughly five million customers.

At least 91 electric cooperatives have also issued a statement that at least P4.5 billion was overcharged to them by PSALM.

“All in all this is a very big amount at P13.6 billion. No wonder eletricity rates in the Philippines are the highest in Asia,” the lawmaker said.

“Ang tagal na pala itong nangyayari at sobra-sobra ang sinisingil sa atin, dapat itigil agad ito at ibalik sa mga consumer,” he added.

Casiño also wants a congressional investigation to see why PSALM was allowed to charge extra when Meralco had already complained about it on 2008 and the ERC had confirmed the overcharge in 2010.

Meralco has computed the overcharging at P9.1 billion covering the period of July 2008 to May 2012. The amount involved “line loss components” of line rentals which PSALM included in its transition supply contract (TSC) with Meralco.

If approved by the ERC, the refund will mean a significant reduction in the electric bill of Meralco’s roughly 5 million customers.

“The refund would be a definite and immediate relief for us consumers considering that we have been reeling from so many power rate hikes. It is about time that consumers have a break from so many burdens,” said Casiño.

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