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ERC orders Meralco, 62 other power distributors to give P2.8-B refund

MONTHLY BILL REDUCTION According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the refunds will be paid back through reductions in the customers’ monthly power bills. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Electricity consumers will get back over the next 12 months the money they paid for charges that 63 power distributors passed on to their customers for over 20 months from 2012 to 2013.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Friday ordered the distributors, including the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), to refund a total of P2.8 billion in pass-on charges that the utilities collected from January 2012 to October 2013.

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Covered by the order are 38 distributors in Luzon, 13 in the Visayas and 12 in Mindanao, the ERC said.

The excess collections ranged from P107,000 to P657.58 million per distributor.

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Bill reductions

The refunds, however, will be paid back through reductions in the customers’ monthly bills ranging from 0.25 centavo per kilowatt-hour to P1.3182 per kWh.

The amounts were related to charges—such as generation, transmission and systems loss fees as well as lifeline and senior citizens subsidies—that the distributors passed on to their customers.

“The refund should be effected for a period of 12 months, except for (Meralco) and Angeles Electric Corp. which [asked] for a shorter period of refund, starting on the next billing cycle from receipt of the ERC’s order or until such time that the full amount shall have been refunded,” ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera said.

In terms of the charges, “overrecoveries” or “underrecoveries” depend on the difference between the actual costs and the estimated costs that the distributors quoted when they sought the approval of their tariffs.

Compliance reports

As for the subsidies, similar results arise due to the difference between the discount granted to qualified consumers and the actual subsidy charged and collected in the monthly bill.

Devanadera said each utility affected by the refund order is required to submit monthly reports on their compliance until the refund has been fully paid.

In a separate statement, Meralco said the ERC directive means that its residential customers will enjoy a refund of 5.49 centavos per kWh, excluding taxes.

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“These adjustments, to be implemented for a period of three months, are incorporated in the generation, transmission, system loss charges, and subsidies [in the monthly bill],” Meralco said.

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TAGS: Electricity Consumers, ERC, MERALCO, power customers, power distributors, refund
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