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    Posted January 12, 2014 by

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    Takeover of power utilities in Phl sought


    A Philippine lawmaker on Sunday called for the immediate takeover of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and other power generating corporations amid fear-mongering that a “blackout” is imminent if the Supreme Court prolongs the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against them.
    "If Meralco and the power generators cannot deliver affordable power rates to the public, all power utilities should now be taken over by the state for its operations,'" Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said in a statement.
    Meralco and power generating companies petitioned the high court a few weeks back seeking high power rates. The petition, however, was questioned by militant groups on the ground that power rate adjustment is an additional economic burden.
    The young lawmaker said the prospect of blackouts in the Meralco franchise area can constitute as a national emergency justifying the takeover of all power utilities from generation to transmission and distribution.
    "Meralco should thus be circumspect in delivering public statements which seem to blackmail the public to simply accept the reality of very high power rates."
    Ridon said the state can also take over the generation plants despite an expressed provision in the EPIRA declaring generation plants are not public utilities.
    "Despite the EPIRA provision, the public now knows that power generation utilities have the greatest effect on power rates. Clearly, these utilities are businesses imbued with great public interest," Ridon pointed out.
    He said that he is also contemplating on filing a bill revoking Meralco's legislative franchise for its failure to provide the public the least cost of electricity.
    Ridon is minority member of the House committees on legislative franchises and energy.

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