MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) Customers will start seeing refunds in their next billing statements after the power distributor confirms receipt of the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) directive to issue refunds amounting to P21.8 billion.
The overcharges to be reimbursed covers the period from July 2015 to June 2022.
Based on the ERC’s latest order, the refund rate for residential customers will be at 87 centavos per kWh, which translates to a P174 refund in the coming months for a household that consumes 200 kWh monthly.
“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,” Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications, said.
“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 added.
The refunds are ordered to be given in installments or in one go within 12 months and shall be reflected as a separate line item in the billing statement for clear monitoring by the consumers.
“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,” ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera explained.
This latest directive is the fourth one given by the ERC to Meralco, with the others being issued in January 2021 (P13.9 billion), February 2022 (P4.8 billion), and March 2022 (P7.7 billion) – the earlier three directives already in effect.
With the addition of the latest rebate amount, residential customers are now entitled to a P1.8009 per kWh refund.
“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 a reasonable return on their investments,” Devanadera added.