The Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) request for provisional authority to refund over collection charges, has been granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Totalling at P13.89 billion, the amount is to be refunded to consumers over a period of two years, or until fully distributed.
The average amount to be refunded comes in at P0.1528 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), with rates varying depending on customer class.
Residential and General Services A will receive P0. 2761 per kWh, General Services at P0.1811 per kWh, General Power at P0.0789 per kWh, Government hospitals/Metered Street Lights/Charitable institutions at P0.1165 per kWh, Flat Streetlights at P0.2870 per kWh, and Generator – Wheeling at P0.0366 per kWh.
The ERC instructed Meralco to indicate the refund in consumer’s bills under a separate line item.
Meralco filed the petition in December of last year in order to confirm with the ERC, its actual Weighted Average Tariff (AWAT) versus the ERC’s Interim Average Rate (IAR) from the period of July 2015 to November 2020, in order to identify any over or under collection.
The utility company’s computation of its AWATS came in at P1.4414 per kWh from actual revenues and sales, going over the IAR set at P1.381 per kWh. The overcollections amounted to the P13.89 billion to be refunded.
According to ERC chair and CEO Agnes Devanadera, the approval of the petition was done with the consumers in mind and the relief it would provide.
With the petition approved, Meralco hopes that as they comply with the refund order, the ERC would also approve the latest reset of Performance-based Regulation (PBR), a regulatory method that focuses on desired outcomes regardless of means to achieve the latter.
Rules for private utility PBR, however, are yet to be established by the ERC, hence Meralco’s usage of the IAR.