Meralco to refund clients P7.75 billion

ERC orders firm to repay ‘over-recoveries’ on electric bills in 12 months

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to refund its customers over P7.75 billion in over-recoveries on electric bills for a period of 12 months, starting this month.

ERC commissioner and spokesperson Floresinda Digal said residential consumers will experience a higher refund of P0.47 per kWh, as Meralco must implement an average refund of P0.2583 per kWh effective the May billing period.

This is seen to give relief to consumers amid anticipated higher electricity charges due to higher fuel costs and higher temperatures during summer months.

“The ERC’s review and true-up of Meralco’s regulatory asset base (RAB) resulted in a reduction of Meralco’s previously approved RAB for the 3rd Regulatory period,” Digal said.

“This reduction requires MERALCO to refund the amount of P7.75 billion for 12 months, equivalent to a refund to residential customers of P0.4669 per kWh. This is equivalent to a P93 refund for a residential customer consuming 200 kWh,” she said.

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Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga confirmed the company’s receipt of the ERC order dated March on the refund of distribution-related charges.

“The refund, which is equivalent to P0.47 per kWh for residential customers, will appear as a separate line item in the power bills starting May,” Zaldarriaga said.

ERC said the P7,755,444,758 refund covers the period for fiscal years 2012 to 2015 and shall be implemented for 12 months starting with the May bills of Meralco consumers.

“Meralco is hereby directed to reflect the refund rate as a separate line item in the bills of its customers during the refund period,” the regulator said.

ERC said the move is under Sections 2 and 41 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

“The Commission hereby issues an interim relief to allow the implementation of the foregoing refund to ensure the promotion of consumer interest, subject to the final evaluation of the respective instant applications,” it said.

In a separate decision, ERC approved Meralco’s contingency capital expenditures for the relocation of its electrical facilities with the implementation of the Build, Build, Build projects of the Department of Transportation.

ERC said the amount of relocations, totaling P9.971 billion, shall be shouldered by DOTr and shall not be recovered under the account of Meralco.

This includes the Philippine National Railways (PNR) North Line 1, PNR North 2, PNR South Commuter, PNR South Long Haul, the Metro Manila Subway project, and the MRT Common Station project.

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