Friday, April 30, 2010

Maza hits alleged deal

Maza hits alleged deal*

Nacionalista Party and Makabayan coalition senatorial candidate Rep. Liza Maza strongly denounced the alleged deal between Liberal Party presidential bet Noynoy Aquino and the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to forego the overcharging in electricity rates, if Aquino wins the presidency on May 10 elections.

Maza said if this deal is true, this could be a portent of things to come where the people will be the ultimate loser again as they will bear the burden of higher power rates.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Better Values (MBV) and its members on Thursday picketed the offices of the Meralco and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to protest recent hikes in power rates and bared the alleged secret deal between Meralco and the Noynoy Aquino camp.

"Arroyo's legacy of high electricity rates since the approval of RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) in 2001 and Noynoy's dream for the presidency bodes ill for consumers and the people," Maza said.

"The Noynoy deal with Meralco, if this is true, could be a portent of things to come. The ERC is already sitting on the excessive billings of Meralco proven by the COA audit. Should the deal push through, we are in for bigger electric shocks," Maza added.

Figures from Commission on Audit (COA) Audit Reports of Meralco revealed overcharges by Meralco of P8.552 billion and P4.375 billion in test years 2004 and 2007 for a total of P12.98 billion. The years 1987 to 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 were not included in the COA audit.

Based on Merlaco’s Audited Financial Statements for CYs 2003 to 2009, the overcharging could reach P15.4 billion.

From a capital base of P441.6-million, Meralco's capital ballooned to P39.2-billion or 8,896 percent in 21 years or an equivalent of 423.6 percent yearly gain.

"This far exceeds the 12 percent returns allowable by law for public utilities like Meralco. Instead of increasing power rates, Meralco should immediately refund consumers and the Noynoy camp should explain their dealings with this company," Maza said.