18 January 2006
We are here to collect Meralco’s debts to the people. The Lopez-controlled Meralco owe us every centavo that we pay for the unjust high power rates and ballooning Napocor debts. In fact, what they owe us – P40 billion and counting – is more than the total equity of Meralco.
The more than P40 billion debts of Meralco is a result of its cancellation of its 1994-2004 Contract with Napocor for the Sale of Electricity (CSE). However, Meralco is about to do away with this and pass on to the consumers the penalty charges it should be the one bearing through the Settlement Agreement it forged with Napocor in 2003.
The Agreement would allow Meralco to reduce the amount of electricity it gets from Napocor and buy more electricity from its independent power producers even when the power rate of its IPPs is about P1 more expensive than Napocor’s power. Though the Agreement recognizes that there is a breach of the CSE, Meralco only gets a P20.05 billion net penalty. Worse, the Agreement would allow Meralco to pass on this penalty to the consumers through a 12-centavo per kwh rates increase if approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
We hold the Arroyo administration accountable for this grossly disadvantageous settlement. She was knowledgeable of this Agreement as early as March 2003. But she kept quiet throughout the process – from the forging of the Agreement in July 2003, Meralco and Napocor’s separate filing of petition in November 2003 for ERC’s approval of said Agreement, withdrawal of both applications, and up to the joint Meralco and Napocor filing of same petition at the ERC in April 2004.
We demand that ERC immediately reject the settlement agreement for the reasons cited above and in our joint statement with NASECORE. Clearly, the Agreement is grossly disadvantageous to the government and to the electricity consumers thus ERC should waste no time in disapproving it.
Nonetheless we demand full public disclosure of all the events, circumstances, individuals, organizations and corporations involved in the negotiation and approval of this agreement. We want to know why we are being sacrificed by so-called public servants in the family altar of an elite business group.
We reiterate our call for GMA to step down. This plunderous and impeachable agreement is another multi-billion peso nail on the coffin of Mrs. Arroyo’s illegitimate presidency.
The Lopezes can go down with her. Meralco must be freed from the Lopezes who have been using this utility as a conduit for their IPPs’ profits at our expense. We demand an independent, thorough and comprehensive financial and management audit of Meralco.
Meralco is not owned by the Lopezes. Nor can Mrs. Arroyo, her family and her cronies claim Meralco as a prize that they will carve up for themselves. MERALCO IS OURS. WE CONSUMERS OWN IT.