The decision to allow the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to stagger the collection of automatic rate adjustments arising from generation costs for November 2013 will offer relief to consumers.,In a statement on Thursday, the Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) commended the Supreme Court’s decision that upheld the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) decision that allows Meralco to impose rate hikes.,“The SC decision balances industry stakeholders’ interests. It also reflects the High Court’s modesty in recognizing the ERC’s mandate of protecting consumers as it determines and regulates power rates,” AGHAM President Angelo Palmones said.,Based on the decision, the ERC acted within its regulatory powers and cannot be accused to have acted with grave abuse of discretion.,Palmones said High Court also recognized that the ERC protected consumers interests when it allowed the staggered recovery of the adjustment charges and, at the same time denied the request for carrying costs.,Apart from protecting consumers, Palmones said the Supreme Court upheld the importance that participants in the power sector can rely on the applicability of certain rules when the circumstances call for their application.,“The decision promotes stability that empowers ERC to exercise its regulatory power consistent with its mandate to protect the interests of consumers without compromising the industry’s ability to continuously provide sufficient power to support the country’s growing power requirements,” Palmones said.