Consumers to get refund from Meralco

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2013 03:43 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2013 11:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) consumers can expect a refund in their monthly bill after the Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the utility to return the double-charged line loss rental collected from its customers from June 2006 to August 2012.

The total amount to be returned to consumers is P9.8 billion.

Initially, the utility will have to return P5.17 billion that will be collected from the National Power Corp., which was responsible for the double charging.

The remaining P4.66 billion, meanwhile, will be collected by Meralco from various private power suppliers that have taken over some Napocor plants but this still needs a separate petition to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)

The refund will take effect in the next billing cycle of Meralco and Napocor which means that the benefit to the consumers will be felt by May. The benefit will be in the form of a reduction in the generation charge component of the bill.

So as not to further hurt the bottomline of Napocor, the ERC has ordered the state power firm to pay Meralco P73 million every month for the next 70 months until it covers the P4.17 billion overcharged amount. The P73 million will be deducted from the generation charge for May and succeeding months until the whole amount is refunded.

On the side of the consumers, the amount of reduction will depend on the level of consumption of each household since it will be tucked in the generation component of the bill.

Meralco said it has not yet received a copy of the order but it will comply. It also clarified that what the firm had collected are all approved by the regulator.

The double charging for line rental occurred when the spot market started operating in 2006. Part of what it charged to the distribution utilities is the line loss rental which is also included in the generation charge collected by Napocor.