Rise in power bills await some Meralco usersBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Roughly 25 percent, or 1.25 million, of Manila Electric Co.’s over 5 million customers are expected to pay an additional amount starting this month to cover the adjustments in their bill deposits, which will serve as “security” for unpaid power bills.
Another 25 percent are expected to get refunds while the rest will not be affected by any adjustments, according to Liza Rose Diangson, Meralco vice president for customer process.
In a phone interview, Diangson admitted this was the first time Meralco would adjust the bill deposits, which should be equivalent to a month’s worth of a customer’s electricity consumption, based on the rules under the Magna Carta for Electricity Consumers. Each customer whose kilowatt-hour consumption had risen by at least 10 percent or more from the time it first started using the services of Meralco would have to pay an additional amount for the bill deposit.
According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, the bill deposit is a standard fee required of those applying for a connection with any distribution utility like Meralco. The amount deposited may be adjusted or redeemed later.
“The ERC is cognizant of the hardships caused by Meralco’s implementation of the adjustment to the bill deposits of some of its customers. For this reason, [the ERC] called Meralco to a conference [Friday] to discuss the matter … how these hardships can be mitigated, if not avoided,” said ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan.
Also, Meralco was quick to assure affected customers that it would look at various options on how to ease the payment terms.
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