Meralco: Customers under net metering program shouldn’t get lifeline rates

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) wants customers under the government’s net metering program to be disqualified from the socialized power rate that is meant to benefit low-income consumers.

“It’s like a rich family with a solar PV [photovoltaic] system availing of the lifeline discount. It’s contrary to the intent of the law,” said Anna Maria A. Reodica, manager of Meralco’s renewables program management office, in a chance interview.

The net metering system allows solar rooftop owners to export excess power to the grid. This exported electricity is offset by the power they import from a distribution utility during times when their solar power generation system is not active, say, at night.

The lifeline or subsidized rate is given to the low-income captive market of distribution utilities as called for by Republic Act No. 9136 or the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.” Consumers contribute to a fund that is used to offset the discount extended to poor households.

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