Meralco to refund P14B to customers

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    The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will refund its customers a total of P13,885,845,931 or equivalent to an average refund of P0.1528 per kilowatt hour in approximately 24 months or until the amount is fully refunded.

    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has allowed t approved Meralco’s prayer for the issuance of a provisional authority to implement the refund to its customers and allow them “to immediately enjoy the benefits of the proposed refund and provide immediate rate relief especially during this time of pandemic,” said Agnes Devanadera, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer.

    ERC said Meralco’s request for refund was included in its application for the confirmation of its actual weighted average tariff as against the ERC-approved interim average rate to determine if there are any over or under recovery.

    However, Devanadera clarified ERC only issued a provisional authority for the refund as all other allegations, assumptions and computations in the application are still subject to “extensive evaluation.”

    “As 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,” she added.

    Meanwhile, Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said the company is hopeful other parts of its petition will also be approved, particularly the restoration of a performance-based mechanism.

    Such mechanism utilizes projections of operating and capital expenditures to enable the regulator to evaluate investment in facilities to meet customer requirements and prescribed service levels.

    “…We appreciate the provisional approval and that we will follow the order as this will provide much needed relief to our customers,” Zaldarriaga said.