Meralco to refund consumers P21.8 billion this month

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Meralco to refund consumers P21.8 billion this month
Meralco linemen upgrade the electrical post and wiring along Fabella Road at Barangay Addition hills in Mandaluyong City on April 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) customers are entitled to receive a refund of P21.8 billion this month, which could temper higher generation costs.

In a 68-page decision, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered Meralco to refund to its customers the additional amount of P21.77 billion covering the period from July 2015 to June 2022.

This translates to an average refund rate of P0.4790 per kilowatt-hour in 12 months or until the amount is fully refunded to its customers, and to reflect the refund rate as a separate line item in the bills of Meralco’s customers during the refund period.

The ERC said the refund is to be implemented in the next billing cycle from Meralco’s receipt of the cited decision.

Sought for comment, Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said the power distributor has received the ERC’s order on the refund of distribution-related charges.

“We will comply with the ERC’s directive. We are currently studying the order so we can start reflecting this in the power bills this month,” he said.

For residential customers, this is equivalent to 87 centavos per kWh.

“While we have yet to receive suppliers’ billings, there is a possibility that the refund can offset the expected increase in generation charge and lead to a reduction in the overall power rates for July,” Zaldarriaga said.

In a statement, ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera said the commission endeavored to review the rate components that can be adjusted under the existing rules.

“In particular, we made adjustments on the Regulatory Asset Base and recomputed the Interim Average Rate. We wanted to ensure that all over-recoveries shall be refunded complete with interest,” she said.

The latest refund directive is the fourth order of ERC since January 2021. The others include P13.9 billion as per order dated Jan. 27, 2021; P4.8 billion as per supplemental order dated Feb. 23, 2022; and the P7.7 billion as per order dated March 8, 2022.

These refunds are to be implemented until 2023.

Including the latest refund order, the updated total refund for residential consumers is now at P1.8009 per kWh.

“We are confident that our decision exercised fairness and promoted the interests of the consuming public who bears the brunt of all these electricity charges. Let’s not forget that the provision of electricity is a public service and providers should only earn just and reasonable return on their investments,” Devanadera said.


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