Electricity users got P20B in refund in 2020, 2021 | Inquirer Business
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Electricity users got P20B in refund in 2020, 2021

05:12 AM September 24, 2021

Power utilities are in the process of refunding customers a total of P20 billion representing “over-recoveries” in various charges in bills incurred in the past several years.

The refunds are being made following orders issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in 2020 and 2021.

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Utilities collect charges that are at times merely approved provisionally by the ERC. When a final decision results in amounts lower than the provisional charges, over collection occurs. On the other hand, if the final ERC approval results in amounts higher than the provisional charges, under collection happens.

If a utility had collected too much, a refund is in order. If collections have been insufficient, the utility is allowed to recover the appropriate amount from its customers.

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“The P20-billion refund that the ERC had approved is aimed to provide some relief especially to electricity consumers that were economically disadvantaged due to limited operation or closure of some businesses,” ERC chair Agnes Devanadera said.

“As COVID-19 persists, we urge the [utilities] to exercise empathy by allowing a more flexible form of payment of their customers’ electricity bill, such as through staggered payment without penalties or interests,” she added.

To help alleviate the economic hardship caused by the pandemic, she said the ERC was looking for ways to reduce the charges being billed by the utilities to their customers.

With the refund orders issued in 2020, consumers in Luzon enjoyed rate reductions of 0.25 centavo to 91.18 centavos per kilowatt-hour. In the Visayas this was 0.28 centavo to P1.3182 per kWh, and in Mindanao, 1.51 centavos to 91.18 centavos per kWh.

Based on orders issued so far in 2021, there were also refunds of 0.14 centavo to P1.5064 per kWh in Luzon, 0.88 centavo to 57.19 per kWh in the Visayas, and 0.7 centavo to 43.48 centavos per kWh in Mindanao.

For Manila Electric Co. and Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co.—based in Cagayan de Oro City—the respective refunds to customers amounted to 15.28 centavos per kWh and 2.68 centavos per kWh.

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