'Complainant shock': ERC says 47,000 complaints filed vs electric bill shock

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2020 04:55 PM

MANILA - The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Monday said it received about 47,000 complaints over the unusually high amounts of electricity bills after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was lifted in Luzon.

The ERC has been trying to look into the possible lapses of the Manila Electric Co and other power utility firms in the country in the issuance of billing statements, but investigations are taking time due to the number of complaints, the agency's chair Agnes Devanadera told the Senate Committee on Energy.

"Kung meron tayong bill shock, meron naman kaming complainant shock," Devanadera said.

(If we are experiencing a bill shock, the ERC is experiencing a complainant shock.)

"Iniisa-isa namin kanino nagrereklamo then we get in touch with the distribution utility," she said when asked what the agency did to address the complaints.

(We are checking the complaints one by one to see what it is about and then we get in touch with the distribution utility that is the subject of the complaint.)

"Hindi namin na anticipate at all. Kung anong personnel ang meron kami, we're moving them to the consumer affairs service to be able to respond to this," she said.

(We did not anticipate this at all. Whatever personnel we have, we're moving them to the consumer affairs service to be able to respond to this.)

While the ERC has yet to respond to all complaints, Devanadera said that several electric distribution companies would be "required" to refund consumers.

"We spelled out the details in the advisory on how the billing should be done... Talagang mayroong pagkakamali ang bills. Hindi dapat ganun ang bills na nabigay sa tao," she said.

(There are really mistakes in the bills. Those bills should not have been distributed to consumers.)

Meralco President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Espinosa earlier apologized for the "continuing inconvenience," saying the distribution firm "failed" to clarify the bills to consumers.