By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – With prices of basic commodities going up unabated, the last thing Filipino families need is another spike in electric rates. But the government recently allowed an increase in electric charges.
Mothers,who bear the brunt of having to budget their meager income and make sure it covers their daily needs, were at the forefront of the protests against the increase.
Nida Nañoz, 52, a resident of sitio Militar in Project 8, Quezon City, said she remembered how dismayed she was upon seeing this month’s electric bill, now amounting to $70 from only $23. She shares a house with her three siblings and their families and now they are at a loss on where to get money to pay for their bill.
Her husband Solomon, 52, only earns $4 to $6 a day as a pineapple vendor.
Under such predicament, Nañoz expressed her dissatisfaction on how President Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III is handling the welfare of poor Filipino families. “At first, he said that the people are his boss. Where is that promise now?”
The Energy Regulatory Commission has recently approved the petition of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to allow the maximum average price (MAP) of $0.038 per kilowatt hour for distribution, supply and metering charges. It would reflect on customers’ bills starting this month until June 30, 2013.
Under the increase, a household with an average monthly consumption of 200 kwh should expect a 16.4-percent increase in MAP from $0.024 per kwh to $0.029 per kwh. The Philippine Star reported that “households consuming 201-300 per kilowatts-hour should expect a 12-percent increase to $0.036 per kwh from $0.032 per kwh while those with an average consumption of 301-400 kWh will bear a 9.8-percent increase to $0.043 per kwh from $0.040 per kwh.”
Electricity rate increase
The increase in the electricity rates, she added, has brought “headaches” to their family. “Where are we going to get that much money this soon? Since there are four families living in our house, we need to come up with $17 each family.”
“We hardly ever use any of our appliances at home. We do not own a television set or a refrigerator. We only have three electric fans, three fluorescent lamps and four small light bulbs,” Nañoz said, adding that they turn off the lights at night and even their electric fans due to the rainy weather for the past few days..... MORE