DOE explores ways to refund P10B to Meralco customersBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Energy is exploring ways to refund some P10 billion that were allegedly “double charged” to the customers of power distributor Manila Electric Co.
The P10 billion represented the additional transmission line costs that were supposedly overcharged by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to Meralco.
On the sidelines of the formal turnover ceremonies at the DOE on Monday, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla disclosed that the DOE, PSALM and Department of Finance had met to discuss the various options that the government can undertake to implement the refund.
“We may have something in sight but I don’t want to announce it yet because we’re working on it—it might be preempted. Any solution that we have will be consistent with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act. But definitely, the refunds will be paid on a long-term basis, not one time, because the amount will be too big to refund at one time,” Petilla explained.
“In fact, we will be holding another meeting with the President on how this will be addressed to make sure that the public will get [the refund] right away,” Petilla added.
The Energy Regulatory Commission, in a decision dated March 10, 2010, declared a “double charging in transmission line costs.”
What remains to be resolved is the amount that was overcharged.
Meralco earlier said the overcharging amounted to P9.1 billion, but has since revised the amount to P10 billion.
PSALM president and CEO Emmanuel R. Ledesma Jr., however, contested the amount, saying that the overcharging amounted to less than P9.1 billion or the initial amount declared by Meralco.