THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has asked electric cooperatives to submit their comments within 10 days on the draft rules governing the monitoring and reporting process of electricity bill deposits.
“For purposes of transparency, the proposed Rules shall enjoin distribution utilities to maintain and develop in their official websites, consumer information disclosing all important terms and conditions, systems and procedures on bill deposits in clear and comprehensible language for the consumers,” Agnes T. Devanadera, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ERC has issued notices for the holding of focus group discussions on the draft rules this week, in its head office in Ortigas Center, Pasig City and in Baguio City.
The draft rules will apply to the provisions of Articles 7 and 28 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers (MREC), the Guidelines to Implement Articles 7 and 28 of the MREC and the relevant provisions of Distribution Service and Open Access Rules (DSOAR).
The ERC on Oct. 27, 2004 issued the Guidelines to Implement Articles 7, 8, 14 and 28 of Chapter III of the MREC that govern, among others, the guidelines and procedures to implement the bill deposits collected from residential and non-residential consumers.
“Bill deposits collected from residential and non-residential consumers are intended to guarantee the payment of electricity bills for new and/or additional service and from disconnected consumers who were previously not subject to bill deposit. The bill deposit shall be equivalent to the estimated billing for one month based on the load schedule of the consumer to guarantee payment of his bills” the ERC said.
The draft rules include a provision on the preparation and submission of a periodic report, under oath, on or before Dec. 31 of every year, covering the details of the total amount of bill deposit collected plus interest earned and the amount credited or refunded to consumers.
Discussions on the draft rules come as two of the ERC commissioners — Alfredo J. Non and Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc — bow out of the agency after completing their seven-year term. They are retiring from government service effective July 10, 2018.
Ms. Devanadera said she was saddened by the retirement of two of her “colleagues and mentors” in the commission.
“I have gained invaluable wisdom and insights from Commissioners Freddie and Amvic when I was just starting at ERC,” she said, referring to the officials in their pet names. “My transition period could not have been manageable without their help.”
“They have served the ERC well and their dedication and diligence is without question. Their contribution to ERC in terms of pro-consumer policies and decisions will make its mark and should be emulated and carried on,” she added. — Victor V. Saulon