|Traded as||PSE: MER and MERB|
|Founded||January 17, 1895|
|Headquarters||Pasig City, Philippines|
|Key people||Manuel V. Pangilinan, (Chairman)
Oscar S. Reyes (President, CEO)
The word MERALCO, is an acronym for Manila Electric Railroad And Light COmpany, which was the company's original name from 1903 to 1919.
MERALCO is the Metro Manila's only electric power distributor and holds the power distribution franchise for some 22 cities and 89 municipalities, including the whole of Metro Manila and Mega Manila region.
Organized in 1891 and began generation in late 1894, La Electricista was the first electric company that provides electricity to Manila during the late Spanish era. La Electricista had built a central power plant on Calle San Sebastian (now R. Hidalgo). On January 17, 1895, its streetlights were turned on for the first time. By 1903, it had about 3,000 electric light customers.
On October 20, 1902, the Second Philippine Commission began accepting bids to operate Manila's electric tramway, and by extension, providing electricity to the city and its suburbs. Detroit entrepreneur Charles M. Swift won the bidding by default as he was the sole bidder and on March 24, 1903, was granted the original basic franchise of Meralco.
In 1904, Meralco acquired both the Compañía de los Tranvías de Filipinas, a firm that operated public transportation and ran Manila's horse-drawn and steam-operated tramways, and added La Electricista. Construction on the electric tramway began that same year. In addition to acquiring La Electricista's Calle San Sebastian power plant, Meralco built its own steam generating plant on Isla Provisora which powered the streetcar system and eventually also the electric service. By 1906, Meralco's yearly power output capacity was around eight million kWh.
Meralco built up a strong public transportation business in the decades leading up to World War II, building a 170-strong fleet of streetcars into the 1920s, before switching over to buses later in that decade.
Power Generation and Distribution
By 1915, electricity generation and distribution became the main Meralco's main income generator, overtaking its public transportation operations in terms of revenue. In 1919, it changed its official name to Manila Electric Company. By 1920, the company's power capacity had grown to 45 million kWh.
In 1925, MERALCO, was acquired by the utility holding company Associated Gas and Electric or AGECO (reorganized as General Public Utilities Corporation or GPU in 1946), which had begun a massive expansion throughout the United States and Canada. With AGECO's financial backing, MERALCO began acquiring a number of existing utility companies in the Philippines, enabling the company to expand beyond its Manila city center base.
By 1930 MERALCO completed construction of the Philippine's first hydroelectric power plant, the 23MW Botocan Hydro Station. At the time, this plant was one of the largest engineering projects in Asia and constituted the largest single private capital investment in the Philippines. The additional capacity allowed the company to begin hooking up customers throughout the metropolitan area.
To drive demand for more power, Meralco also opened a retail store in order to sell electric home appliances.
World War II
During Greater East-Asia War, the Japanese Occupation Forces forcibly transferred all of Meralco's assets and holdings to the Japanese controlled Taiwan Power Company. By the end of the war, most of the former Meralco operations had been destroyed.
Post War Reconstruction (Nationalist Era)
After World War II, MERALCO's autobus franchise was sold to Halili Transport. In 1962, Don Eugenio Lopez, Sr. acquired MERALCO and it finally became Filipino-owned. In buying Meralco, Don Eugenio demonstrated his belief that Filipinos could manage businesses even better than Americans. During 1962-72, he increased MERALCO's power generating capacity five times with the building of additional power stations in the Manila area with two more planned in Rizal province.
Martial Law Period
Don Eugenio Lopez, Sr., who owned Meralco at the time, had both his sons kidnapped by the government who were released to force Don Eugenio to hand over his business empire. The regime arrested his son Eugenio Lopez, Jr. (better known as Geny) on trumped-up charges of conspiring to assassinate the president. With his son held hostage, Don Eugenio was forced to give up his holdings in a group of companies worth several hundred million dollars, but Geny was not released from prison.
By decree, the ownership of the company was stripped away from the López family and placed under a shell company called the Meralco Foundation, Inc., controlled by crony under the newly-created, government controlled Napocor.
By 1978 all of the Philippines' major power plants, including most notably those previously owned by MERALCO, were owned and operated by NAPOCOR. Control of the Meralco corporation itself was seized by the Marcos Dictatorship, but was returned to its prior owners after the People Power Revolution by President Corazon Aquino without the Lopez family paying for improvements done during Martial Law. She also enacted an executive order that allowed the company to directly compete with NAPOCOR.
2008 Legislative investigation on high power rates
Meralco is facing a Philippine legislative inquiry/investigation for alleged excessive pricing. The government has considered a plan to take over Meralco, to reduce electricity bills. Meralco and National Transmission Corporation (Transco) blamed each other for the high power rates. Meralco also blames high power generation costs, high transmission costs and government taxes imposed on the electricity sector from power generation to distribution. Government Service Insurance System (Philippines) President Winston Garcia, however, blamed Meralco's inefficiency, its "bloated bureaucracy" and its sourcing of power from independent power producers (IPPs) also owned by the Lopezes, and the need to amend the Electronic Power Industry Reform Act of 2001. Oscar Lopez, said that if GSIS would buy the shares of Meralco, they must buy in whole cash. Many businessmen also say that taking over Meralco is not the way to reduce electrical price. It depends on the government and the president. As other people say, this issue is only to hide the ZTE NBN scandal and other more issues. A perceived lack of general understanding regarding the issue of system loss, inherent in the business of utilities prompted Meralco's former holding company First Philippine Holdings to issue advertisements explaining systems loss.
Syndicated estafa and bribery case
The Department of Justice (Philippines), in its August 22, 2008 31-page resolution, filed with the Pasig Regional Trial Court, syndicated (fraud) charges against Meralco. The May 29 National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reform (Nasecore) complaint accused Meralco of "illegally declaring as income P 889 million in consumers’ money, which represents interest from meter and bill deposits consumers had been paying since 1995." No bail was recommended for all the accused, 2006 officers of Meralco, to wit: Meralco chairman and CEO Manuel Lopez, executive vice president and chief financial officer Daniel Tagaza, first vice president and treasurer Rafael Andrada, vice president and corporate auditor and compliance officer Helen De Guzman, vice president and assistant comptroller Antonio Valera, and senior assistant vice president and assistant treasurer Manolo Fernando; 2006 Meralco directors Arthur Defensor Jr., Gregory Domingo, Octavio Victor Espiritu, Christian Monsod, Federico Puno, Washington Sycip, Emilio Vicens, Francisco Viray and Cesar Virata.
Nasecore's complaint accusing Meralco of "illegally declaring as income 889 million pesos in consumers’ money, which represents interest from meter and bill deposits consumers had been paying since 1995," was immediately refuted by the accused company as the alleged P889 million only stemmed from a generally accepted accounting principle of reversing Meralco's earlier provision for meter deposit interests which, earlier set at 10% per annum was deemed too high and was set to the recommended 6%. Meralco also questioned how a syndicated estafa case can arise when it has already announced and committed that it will be refunding to customers who paid meter deposit principals plus interest months ahead of the ERC prescribed schedule and has allocated enough funds for the said refund.
Dismissal of syndicated estafa case
On October 6, 2008, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 71 dismissed the syndicated estafa case filed against Meralco board of directors for the prosecution failed to establish all the elements of syndicated estafa.
Presiding Judge Franco Falcon, in the ruling, pointed out that the board is not the kind described by the law as being formed to perpetrate an illegal act for the board of directors were elected by stockholders. The court explained, “Therefore, the accused can never be charged of taking part in the commission of syndicated estafa not only because they are not part of a syndicate as contemplated by law in PD 1689, but more so, because there was absolutely no estafa committed.”
According to Philippine Law, to constitute syndicated estafa, the subject money or property must be received by the offenders. The money represents the accrued interests on the bill and meter deposits, which were paid by Meralco customers, not directly to the board, but to the various Meralco business centers where the customers transacted.
MeralcO expressed elation over the dismissal.
as of January 12, 2012 
- Beacon Electric Asset Holdings Inc. (consortium of PLDT and Metro Pacific): 42.6%
- San Miguel Corporation: 21.5%
- PCD Nominee Corporation: 5.7%
- Social Security System: 5.6%
- San Miguel Purefoods Company Inc. (San Miguel's subsidiary): 5.2%
Sell-offs and Acquisitions
San Miguel Acquisition of GSIS Stake
Food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corporation acquired GSIS's entire 27 percent stake in Meralco at P90 per share or a total of P26 billion (ex
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- GMA NEWS.TV, House panel begins probe into high power rates
- Abs-Cbn Interactive, Meralco, Napocor point fingers on high power rates
- Abs-Cbn Interactive, High power rates blamed on Meralco, gov't, IPPs
- gmanews.tv, DOJ charges Meralco with syndicated estafa
- DOJ files estafa raps vs Meralco
- newsinfo.inquirer.net, DoJ files syndicated fraud raps vs Meralco execs
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