Amid numerous complaints, ERC asks Meralco to explain “high billing” for March, April and May

Cropped photo of Meralco building in Pasig City/ Photo from Meralco website (Courtesy Meralco)


(Eagle News) — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has asked the Manila Electric Company to “explain and show proof” of its basis for its computation of electric bills of consumers during the past quarantine period amid mounting complaints of overcharging its consumers.

ERC Chair Agnes VST Devanadera said that the commission had been “bombarded with complaints” about the Meralco high billing for the months of March, April and May, 2020 and the ERC wanted to know “its basis in calculating the kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption for its captive customers during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) implementation.”

-ERC bombarded with complaints-

“We have been bombarded with complaints on MERALCO’s alleged high billings covering the past three (3) months, including this May, and we need to look into these consumers’ allegations that we required MERALCO to submit to us data or information for us to validate the accuracy of their billing calculations”, Devanadera said.

The ERC sent the letter dated May 15, 2020 to Meralco.

It asked the ERC to submit the following documents within five days from receipt of its letter:

(1) Basis on the determination of the kWh consumption of the captive customers during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) particularly for the billing periods of March, April, and May 2020;
(2) Power bills issued by the suppliers used in the computation of the Generation Rate for the same billing period;

(3) NGCP invoices used in the computation of the Transmission Rate for the aforesaid billing period; and (4) the Uniform Reportorial Requirement (URR) for the said billing period.

ERC chair Devanadera said that based on the data to be submitted by Meralco, the commission can then study and determine if it had complied with the ERC rules.

“The data that we required of MERALCO will enable the Commission to determine if MERALCO has indeed complied with the relevant rules issued by ERC, such as the Distribution Services and Open Access Rules or DSOAR, and implemented accurately the pertinent Advisories that we issued on 15 April and 5 May 2020 relating to the implementation of Pass Thru Charges to the consumers,” she said.

“We are adhering to our mandate of ensuring that the interest of the consuming public is promoted and protected”, she added.

Meralco: lower electricity rates to be reflected once meter reading resumes-

Meralco in its advisory for May, said that the “lower electricity rate” for this month “will be reflected once meter reading has started.”

“The electrical bills customers will receive this May are based on their past three month’s average consumption,” it said.

The company claimed that there will be a “noticeable decrease” in its May 2020 power bills “due mainly to Meralco’s Force Majeure claim during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).”

“The rate decrease amounts to P0.2483 per kWh or around P50 to the total bill of typical households where power consumption averages 200kWh monthly.
Additionally, Meralco’s distribution, supply, and metering charges continues to remain unchanged for almost 5 years,” Meralco’s statement added.

(Eagle News Service)