MANILA (UPDATE) — The Energy Regulatory Commission said Friday it has ordered Meralco to refund a total of P13.8 billion to its customers.
The refund rate will be an average of P0.15 per kilowatt-hour to be paid out in a span of 24 months or “until the amount is fully refunded.”
“The Commission approved Meralco’s prayer for the issuance of a provisional authority to allow their customers to immediately enjoy the benefits of the proposed refund and provide immediate rate relief especially during this time of pandemic,” ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera said.
In its order, the ERC stressed that it limits such provisional authority only to the refund of the amount as applied by Meralco.
It added that except for authorizing the refund as applied, all other allegations, assumptions, and computations made in the instant application are still subject to the ERC’s extensive evaluation and pertinent rules on the matter.
The ERC told Meralco to reflect the refund as a separate line item on customer power bills during the refund period, as stated below:
Meralco, in its application, sought the ERC's confirmation of its actual Weighted Average Tariff (AWAT) as against the ERC-approved Interim Average Rate (IAR) to determine if there are any over or under-recovery.
"As the regulator of the electric power industry, the Commission in determining its actions on applications filed before it, has the consumer welfare as its primary consideration, thus, our decision to immediately authorize the refund. We hope that the reduction in rate could help our consumers cope with the still ongoing pandemic,” Devanadera said.
The ERC noted that the refund is without prejudice to the outcome of the final evaluation of the application after completion of both technical and legal proceedings.
In December, the ERC said Meralco should refund consumers from overcollections of pass-through charges from Jan. 2017 to Dec 2019.
The ERC said Meralco overcollected a total of P1.4 billion from pass-through charges in the two-year period, which included rates for transmission, system loss, lifeline subsidy and senior citizen subsidy.