Senator Win Gatchalian commended the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for ordering Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) to refund its customers P21.8 billion equivalent to 87 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
This means that for a typical household that consumes 200 kWh a month, there will be a P174 refund in the electricity bill beginning this month.
“This is a welcome relief especially for poor Filipino households. It will make a difference amid the rising cost of basic commodities,” Gatchalian said.
Meralco had been directed to execute the refund in approximately 12 months or until the entire amount is fully reimbursed to its customers and to reflect the refund rate as a separate line item in the electricity bill during the refund period.
The refund directive is the third since January this year. The ERC said that Meralco’s previous refunds are to be implemented until 2023 and the updated total refund for residential consumers is now at P1.8009/kWh to include the latest P21.8 billion refund.
Gatchalian lauded the ERC for being committed in ensuring reasonable electricity rates through the exercise of prudent and equitable judgment, for protecting the welfare of consumers, and balancing the interests of all stakeholders.
“Ang kagyat na utos ng ERC ay malaking bagay lalo na sa mga naghihikahos sa buhay sa gitna ng napakataas na presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin sa bansa. Ang pag-uutos ay nagpapakita lamang ng kapangyarihan ng ahensya at nagbibigay konsiderasyon sa mga konsyumer sa panahon ng kagipitan,” Gatchalian said.
The senator said that it’s fortunate that the ERC’s directive to reimburse residential customers came just days after the Supreme Court upheld a 2013 approved rate hike application by the country’s biggest power distribution utility.
The said high court ruling granted Meralco the authority to impose a staggered power hike to recover P22.64 billion from consumers.