Power cooperatives waive collection of bill deposits
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ten power coops have waived the collection of bill deposits as the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) revisits its rules.

They comprise five electric cooperatives (ECs) in Luzon, two in Visayas and three in Mindanao.

The five Luzon-based ECs are Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc. (Beneco), Lubang Island Electric Cooperative, Nueva Vizcaya Electric Cooperative, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative and Quirino Electric Cooperative.

The two in Visayas are Cebu I Electric Cooperative Inc. and Bantayan Electric Cooperative Inc. while the three ECs from Mindanao are Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Misamis Occidental II Electric Cooperative Inc. (MOELCI II), and Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative Inc.

“These electric cooperatives must be emulated and lauded for truly living up to the cooperative and “bayanihan” spirit,” ERC chairperson and chief executive officer Agnes Devanadera said.

In its evaluation, the ERC found that the distribution utilities had collected an aggregate amount of P26.28 billion in bill deposits as of Jan. 23.

Bill deposits are collected from electricity consumers applying for new and/or additional service and from disconnected consumers who were previously not subject to bill deposits. 

The ERC is currently revisiting its rules on bill deposits to incorporate or amend portions thereof in order to include provisions that will protect consumers’ interests.

“ERC commends these electric cooperatives for exerting efforts to reduce their consumers’ electric bill by not charging and collecting bill deposits and, thus, increasing their purchasing power,” Devanadera said.

“We encourage the other DUs to forego the charging of bill deposit, considering that there is no additional cost incurred and accrued to them.  If foregoing the collection of bill deposit is not possible, it is but fair and appropriate that the customers be entitled to some interests which the commission is now ironing out,” she said.

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