The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to refund a total of P13.88 billion to customers or equivalent to an average refund of P0.1528 per kilowatt-hour in 24 months.
“The Commission approved Meralco’s prayer for the issuance of a provisional authority in order to allow their customers to immediately enjoy the benefits of the proposed refund and provide immediate rate relief especially during this time of pandemic,” said ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera.
In its Order, the ERC emphasized that it limits such provisional authority only to the refund of the amount as applied by Meralco.
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.
Moreover, ERC qualified that the refund is without prejudice to the outcome of the final evaluation of the application after completion of both technical and legal proceedings.
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 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.” ERC Chair Devanadera added.
Last month, Meralco Head of Utility Economics Lawrence S. Fernandez explained that the AWAT was based on Meralco’s distribution charges, which increased during the pandemic. During the global health emergency, the distribution rate differed from the interim average rate (IAR), as residential households consumed more power, he said.
Fernandez earlier said that Meralco resolved to ask the ERC to refund the difference between its AWAT and IAR to consumers. – BusinessNews.ph