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|Subject: Meralco Overcharged P28 Billion Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:21 am|| |
On November 15, 2002, the Supreme Court ordered the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to refund its 3.1 million consumers over P28 billion in overcharged electricity bill since February 1994.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court's third division, composed of five justices, voted unanimously in favor of the government represented by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), which in 1998 claimed that Meralco overcharged its 3.1 million customers by an average of P0.167 per kilowatt-hour. A consumer organization estimated that Meralco owes each household about P3,574 in refund.
Meralco, a private company, now services some 3.4 million consumers in Metro Manila and parts of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. It buys electricity from the government-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) and its two independent power producers.
In June 2002, an independent study submitted to Malacanang Palace reported that Meralco had been overcharging its 3.4 million customers in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces by as much as P0.408 per kilowatt-hour. Ironically, the government has a 25 percent stake in Meralco, which is controlled by the Lopez family.