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Meralco, other power firms told to refund users’ excess payments

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered distribution utilities such as the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to refund electricity charges to consumers including overpayments during the enhanced community quarantine period.

READ: Meralco asked to explain ECQ ‘violations’

In an advisory, ERC directed the distributors and electric cooperatives to refund overpayments of consumers arising from monthly billings issued based on estimated consumption and verified against actual meter reading.

ERC received over thousands of complaints due to high electricity bills during the ECQ period.

“The said overpayments shall be accurately and clearly reflected on the billing statement,” the regulator said.

Consumers who are entitled to refunds due to overpayments may, in lieu of cash refund, request to apply the amount to be refunded as credits that will be applied in the immediate future billings, the ERC said.

ERC also called for a refund of overpayments resulting from the non-implementation of the installment payment scheme prescribed by the commission.

The regulator previously ordered distributors to implement a four-month installment scheme for bills of consumers with a monthly consumption of 200 kilowatt-hours and above and a six-month installment scheme for consumers with consumption of 200 kWh and below during the ECQ period.

“For consumers who already paid in full their monthly billings that fell due during the ECQ or modified ECQ that is covered by the mandated installment arrangement, they shall also have the option to seek a refund and avail of the mandated installment payment,” it said.

The ERC said distributors and cooperatives should also refund customers who were billed the feed-in tariff allowance for the billing months of March and April as directed in the advisories of the commission dated April 15 and May 5.

The regulator said consumers billed with the universal charge-environmental charge (UC-EC) should also be refunded.

The ERC directed the temporary collection of the UC-EC in its May 22 advisory.

It required the distributors and cooperatives to submit a report on overbillings, by month, and to undertake the pertinent refund on or before Aug. 15.

The commission further directed distributors and cooperatives in Cebu Province, particularly in places that are still under the ECQ, not to effect any disconnection on account of unpaid ECQ bills of electricity consumers until September.

READ: No Meralco disconnection till August

READ: Meralco to complete readings this month

Topics: Energy Regulatory Commission , Manila Electric Co. , overpayment , enhanced community quarantine
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