Bill Deposits for Filipino Electricity Consumers?

By Lilybeth G. Ison

A Palace official on Thursday said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) must explain to the public concerns with regards to the imposition of the “bill deposits“.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing, said the ERC is independent from the Department of Energy, and as such, it is the responsibility of the ERC to explain to the public the bill deposits.

“I think the ERC should explain why there would be an increase in the bill deposits,” which is set to be implemented by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Meralco is updating the bill deposits of its customers. Around 1.2 million customers will need to pay more to cover their bill deposits, while more than a million will also get a refund. The rest will have no changes at all in their bill deposits.

Distribution utilities are allowed by the ERC to require bill deposits from customers under the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers.

The ERC earlier said it will be meeting the power utility firm to find solutions to address concerns of Meralco customers on the imposition of the new bill deposits.

Although ERC executive director Francis Juan acknowledged that it is well within Meralco’s rights to seek the adjustment, the manner by which it will be collected is not covered in its regulation.

“It’s part of the authority of the Commission to look into the implementation by any distribution utility of the Commission’s regulation on the matter,” he said in an interview with media.

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