Bayan Muna asks SC to cite Meralco in contempt

Posted at 03/17/14 3:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Party-list urged the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to order Meralco to show cause why it should not be cited in contempt for charging its consumers the restrained P4.15 per kilowatt hour in generation charge.

In a motion, Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate stressed that Meralco violated the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high court on the said rate adjustment last December 23, and subsequently extended up to April 22.

Meralco admitted that the restrained generation charge was included in the "total amount due" column for at least 434,000 of its power consumers in their February billing.

Bayan Muna said 37,000 of the consumers who received the format had paid the deferred amount.

"Meralco has at least instigated, more precisely committed, violations of the TRO... Meralco's billing format subverted the TRO imposed by this Honorable Court (SC)," the motion read.

Bayan Muna also urged the high court to order Meralco to submit a written compliance report on its implementation of the TRO.

Former Bayan Muna representative and POWER convenor Teddy Casiño said Meralco’s action is contemptible because it "deceived" consumbers into paying more than what they should have.

“We want the SC to hold Meralco accountable for misleading and violating the rights of its consumers. The Court should send a clear message to other public utility companies that they should not trifle with the orders of the Court or with the rights of their customers,” Casiño said.

Bayan Muna is also poised to ask the high court to order Meralco to pay consumers the interest on the P5 billion the distribution firm had allegedly collected of the deferred amount from 2.5 million consumers.