Group questions Meralco's delayed interest on bill deposits

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2012 05:20 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2012 01:20 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A consumer group is questioning the interest on bill deposits that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) started giving its customers last week. 

National Association for Electricity Consumers for Reform (NASECORE) says while it is laudable that Meralco has started paying interest on customers' bill deposits, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) must ask why Meralco has failed to provide interest since 2004 when the Magna Carta for electricity consumers took effect. 

Pete Ilagan questioned why Meralco failed to give interest on the bill deposit since 2004.

He said the ERC must also ensure that the supposed interest through the years must also earn additional interest since Meralco used it for its operations. 

The interest rate on bill deposits ranged from 6% to 8% in previous years prior to 2010 when it drastically went down to 0.75% in 2010 and 0.5% this year. 

According to Ilagan, while the release of the interest on bill deposit will benefit consumers, the ERC must ensure that the correct amount is reflected on the letter which will be creditable to their electricity consumption. 

Meanwhile, the ERC says there is no need for Meralco to get their approval on the interest on bill deposits, as long as it complies with the provision of the Magna Carta.