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Jun 6, 2008

74 SCRA 212


Ruiz, Enriquez and Moses filed 3 separate complaints with Board of Power and Waterworks charging Syquia as administrator of the South Syquia Apartments with the offense of selling electricity without permit or franchise and alleging that Syquia billed them for their electricity consumption in excess of the Meralco rates.

In her answer, Syquia questioned the jurisdiction of the Board, saying that she is not engaged in the sale of electric power but merely passes to the apartment tenants as the end-users their legitimate electric current bills in accordance with their lease contracts.


  • Whether or not the Board has jurisdiction


Respondent board as a regulatory board manifestly exceeded its jurisdiction in taking cognizance of and adjudicating the complaints filed by respondents against petitioner.

Respondent board acquired no jurisdiction over petitioner's contractual relations with respondents-complainants as her tenants, since petitioner is not engaged in a public service nor in the sale of electricity without permit or franchise.

Respondents' complaints against being charged he additional cost of electricity for common facilities used by the tenants (in addition to those registered in their respective apartment meters) give rise to a question that is purely civil in character that is to be adjudged under the applicable provisions of the Civil Code (not the Public Service Act) and not by the respondent regulatory board which has no jurisdiction but by the regular courts of general jurisdiction.
Respondent board in resolving the complaints against petitioner and requiring her to absorb the additional rising costs of electricity consumed for the common areas and elevator service even at a resultant loss of P15,000.00 a year arrogated the judicial function. Its orders were beyond its jurisdiction and must be set aside as null and void.


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