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ERC to order lockdown refund from Meralco

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THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said Tuesday it will soon issue an order to issue refunds to customers who overpaid on their electricity bills, after the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) agreed to return excess collections made during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In a Laging Handa briefing Tuesday, ERC Chair Agnes VST Devanadera said “Hanggang bukas maglalabas na namin ng order. Kahapon nag-commit na ang Meralco by no less than its President ang pangako nilang magre-refund (By tomorrow we will release an order. Yesterday, Meralco’s president made a commitment).”

Earlier this week, Meralco said it will refund excess payments made by consumers during the ECQ. Confusion over power bills started when June bills asked consumers to settle their bills from March, April and May, even though the government allowed payments for the lockdown months to be settled in installments.

The June bill is no longer covered by the installment plan and was due on June 30.

Ms. Devanadera said the ERC will also look into distribution utilities that violated ERC billing guidelines.

Ms. Denavedera said “’Yung distribution utilities… sinabi natin na ang universal charge, ang environmental charge huwag singilin… naniningil pa. Itong mga ito ay violations sa mga pinag-uutos ng ERC (Some distribution utilities collected the May universal charge and the environmental charge even though we ordered them not to). These are violations of the orders of the ERC).”

In a Senate hearing on Monday, the ERC said it received 47,000 complaints from consumers regarding their electric bills. Ms. Devanadera said that the ERC is doing its best to address these concerns despite being understaffed. — Gillian M. Cortez





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