Santa Rosa City Representative Urges Challenge to Reversal of ERC Ruling on Power Rate Increases

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Santa Rosa City Representative Urges Solicitor General to Challenge Court Decision on Power Rate Increase

In a recent development, Santa Rosa City Representative Dan Fernandez, who also serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Energy, has called on the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to question the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) before the Supreme Court. The CA had reversed the ruling of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which had initially rejected the petition of power firms to raise rates.

In a letter addressed to the OSG, Fernandez urged the office to take the matter to the highest court in the land, emphasizing the significance of the issue at hand. The CA’s decision, issued on June 27, 2023, nullified the ERC’s ruling that denied the petitions of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

The CA’s 13th division stated that the ERC had acted “with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction” when it rejected the petition of Meralco and its subsidiaries, South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC) and San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC), to increase power rates by 30 centavos per kilowatt hour.

To provide some context, SPPC and SMEC had entered into a 10-year agreement with Meralco in 2019. Under this agreement, they were to supply 1,000 megawatts of capacity from the gas-fired Ilijan plant and the coal-fired Sual plant. However, following the ERC’s decision, the power supply agreements with Meralco were terminated.

Fernandez, in a statement, highlighted the importance of balancing the demand for power supply with the need to protect consumers from price gouging. He stated, “While demand for power supply is acute at this time, we also have the responsibility to protect consumers against price gouging. There are ways to meet demand that will not unduly and unreasonably raise power rates.”

The lawmaker further emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging the ERC to withhold approval of the new power supply agreement between Meralco and SMC until the Supreme Court reaches a final resolution on the controversial power supply deals. Fernandez expressed concern that San Miguel Corp. had simply substituted a contract that paid it cheaply for electricity with the same contract but at a significantly higher price.

When approached for comment, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra informed The Manila Times that the ERC, through the OSG, had already filed a petition for a review of the CA’s decision before the Supreme Court. However, he did not disclose the exact date when the petition was filed.

This ongoing legal battle has far-reaching implications for both Fernandez’s constituents in Santa Rosa City and the Filipino population at large. It raises questions about the fairness of power rate increases and the need for transparent and accountable decision-making processes within the energy sector.

Implications for Consumers and the Energy Sector

The CA’s decision to reverse the ERC’s ruling has sparked concerns among consumers and industry stakeholders alike. The potential increase in power rates could have a significant impact on households and businesses, particularly in a time when the demand for electricity is already high.

Fernandez’s call to protect consumers against price gouging reflects the need for a balanced approach to meeting the growing demand for power. While it is essential to ensure a stable and reliable power supply, it is equally important to prevent unjustified increases in rates that burden consumers.

The termination of the power supply agreements between Meralco and SPPC/SMEC following the ERC’s decision highlights the complexities of the situation. It raises questions about the long-term sustainability of power generation and the need for clear guidelines and regulations in the energy sector.

Legal Proceedings and the Role of the Supreme Court

With the OSG filing a petition for a review of the CA’s decision before the Supreme Court, the fate of the power rate increase proposals now rests in the hands of the judiciary. The Supreme Court’s final resolution on this matter will have far-reaching consequences for both the power firms involved and the consumers they serve.

The Supreme Court’s decision will not only determine the fate of the proposed power rate increase but also set a precedent for future cases involving similar disputes. It will provide clarity on the legal boundaries within which regulatory bodies such as the ERC can operate and make decisions.

It is crucial for the Supreme Court to carefully consider the arguments presented by all parties involved and weigh the potential impact on consumers, the energy sector, and the overall economy. The decision should strike a balance between ensuring fair compensation for power generation companies and protecting consumers from excessive rate hikes.


Representative Dan Fernandez’s call to challenge the Court of Appeals’ decision before the Supreme Court reflects the concerns of consumers and industry stakeholders regarding the potential power rate increase. The ongoing legal battle highlights the need for transparent and accountable decision-making processes within the energy sector.

As the legal proceedings unfold, it is essential for the Supreme Court to carefully consider the implications of its decision on consumers, the energy sector, and the overall economy. Striking a balance between the interests of power firms and the welfare of consumers is crucial to ensure a fair and sustainable energy landscape in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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