power and water

ERC orders Meralco to refund P1.4 billion in excess collections

Aika Rey

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REFUND. Facade of a Meralco office.

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Meralco will also recover undercollections worth P2.38 billion from consumers

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to return to consumers a total of P1.4 billion in over collections from 2017 to 2019.

The ERC on Tuesday, December 29, said the over collections were found in the pass-though costs: transmission, system loss, lifeline subsidy, and senior citizen discount rates.

The ERC ordered Meralco to return the excess collections at an average rate of P0.1331 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), for a period of 3 months, until fully refunded.

However, the biggest power distributor also under collected some P2.38 billion in the generation rate.

These should be charged to consumers with a rate of P0.0395/kWh for around 24 months until fully collected, starting on the next billing cycle upon receipt of the order.

The ERC said that the longer period for undercollections was meant to “protect the consuming public.”

“We will find means, such as stretching the collection of any under collection to a longer period and effecting a quick refund for over collection, in order to temper the impact on consumer’s bill,” said ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera.

In August, ERC ordered Meralco to pay a P19-million fine over the bill shock that its customers experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.

Distribution utilities are required to file requests to recover over and under collections of pass-through costs once every 3 years, subject to the evaluation of the regulatory body. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.