power and water

Meralco to refund P13.9 billion to customers

Aika Rey
Regulators grant Meralco's petition to refund an average of P0.1528 per kilowatt-hour to customers

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Friday, February 19, granted Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) petition to refund P13.89 billion to customers.

The average refund is set at P0.1528 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Here’s the refund rate per customer class:

  • Residential & General Service A – P0.2761/kWh
  • General Service – 0.1811/kWh
  • General Power – P0.0789/kWh
  • Government hospitals, metered street lights, and charitable institutions – P0.1165/kWh
  • Flat streetlights – P0.2870/kWh
  • Generator – wheeling – P0.0366/kWh

The ERC said that this should be issued within two years, or until the amount is fully refunded. Meralco was also ordered to include a separate line item in customers’ bills to reflect the refund.

In the petition filed last December 2020, Meralco sought ERC’s confirmation of its actual weighted average tariff (AWAT) against the approved interim average rate (IAR) from July 2015 to November 2020, to determine if there were over- or under-recoveries. Meralco also asked for a provisional authority for the refund.

According to the utility firm’s petition, it computed AWAT at P1.4414/kWh based on actual revenues and sales, while the IAR was at P1.381/kWh. The difference between the rates amounted to a total of P13.89 billion in excess collections.

On Friday, the ERC said that the provisional authority granted was “without prejudice to the outcome of the final evaluation of the application of both technical and legal proceedings.”

“With the petition we filed, Meralco hopes to put the PBR (performance-based rate) mechanism back on track – that we appreciate the provisional approval and that we will follow the order as this will provide much needed relief to our customers,” said Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco vice president for corporate communications. – Rappler.com

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.