Power rate hike to affect only Bulacan, 4 Pampanga towns

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    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO —If you live somewhere in Central Luzon, excepting Bulacan and some barangays in four towns in this province, and you fi nd your next electric bill soaring despite normal power usage, storm your local electric cooperative.

    Yes, the spirit of Christmas will not be watered down significantly in Central Luzon amid prospects of higher electric bills approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and, at least in Metro Manila, announced by Meralco.

    The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a statement that in Central Luzon, only Bulacan and a few barangays in four Pampanga towns are to be covered by the hike in power cost. “Only the province of Bulacan and several barangays in the towns of Apalit, San Simon and Candaba in Pampanga are affected by the power
    rate hike to be imposed by Manila Electric Corporation (Meralco) effective this month,” the DOE field office here said.

    DOE Luzon field office director Efren Balaoing explained that “Meralco’s increase stemmed from the maintenance shutdown of Malampaya natural gas facility which was further aggravated by the emergency shutdown of other plants where it gets power,” Balaoing noted that other electric cooperatives and corporations
    in the region are not increasing rates because they are utilizing renewable energy plants.

    Last week, the ERC approved a staggered billing scheme for Meralco’s power rate hike. Under the scheme, increase in charges in December will be P2.41 per kilowatt hour; P1.21 per kilowatt hour in February 2014; and P0.53 per kilowatt hour in March 2014.

    Balaoing did not disclose which barangays in the four Pampanga towns would be covered by the hike in electricity cost.

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