Workers from the Alliance of Progressive Labor joined the mass action led by the Kuryente alliance in Mendiola to denounce President Gloria Arroyo’s scheme of lowering electricity rates as inadequate and deceptive.

“The real problem is the existing onerous contracts between government and the Independent Power Producers. Any scheme that would continue to honor the PPA would still be detrimental to the public,” Josua Mata, secretary general ofAPL, said.

President Arroyo, in her Labor Day message last year, announced that PPA charges of the National Power Corporation would be cut down by P1.25 per kilowatt hour but not the PPA of Meralco which is privately owned by the Lopez family.

In a statement, APL said that the government deceived the consumers last year when it lowered PPA charges but lengthened the period of payment from 7-10 years to 15-20 years depending on the expiration of the contracts. The labor group averred that since October PPA charges began increasing again almost monthly, which now total to P3.00 per kilowatt hour more than the previous charges.

The labor group welcomed the Supreme Court decision to uphold the P28 Billion Meralco refund but it has doubts on how the company would refund it and if the poor would really benefit from it. The group is keen on the proposal to convert the refund to people’s shares of stocks and to have a representation in the Meralco board. “This would check further dealings of Meralco that would be detrimental to the consumers,” Mata concluded.

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