ERC orders Mercalco to correct billing and refund customers of overstatement

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MANILA – After receiving about 50,000 complaints from power consumers in the national capital region, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Agnes Devanavera said she is signing a directive to the management of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to correct their billing and if possible, refund their customers of overstatement.

“Mr. Meralco ngayong nakita mo na ang mali, ay bigyan mo ng correct billing ang mga consumers” (Mr. Meralco, now that you see you mistakes, please give correct billing to your customers), Devanavera said about her order.

In a live radio-TV interview monitored by Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News, Wednesday, Devanavera said their office has also made cursory survey of the meter readings among its staff and they are also shocked of the findings.  “Ako din ay na shock sa aking bill. Pero hindi tayo manatiling ma-shock, kondi kailangang matauhan ang dapat mataohan,” (I’m also shocked of my own bill. But we will not remain that way, but to wake up those who need to be awaken), she said.

She further said that her directive would force Meralco to conduct an actual meter reading in the end of May or before June 8 and deduct the reading with their last meter reading on February to determine the actual electric power usage of the months without reading because of the pandemic.  “Simple arithmetic lang, i-divide mo ang total na gamit ng walang reading upang mabayaran in installment batay sa directiba ng ERC,” (Simple arithmetic, divide the total usage of months without reading so that it will be paid in installment in accordance with the directive of the ERC), she said.

However, she appreciated the presence of Atty. Ray Espinosa, president of Meralco during the hearing on the issue in congress. “Ang kabutihan naman nuong hearing ang presidente mismo ng Meralco ang dumating sa hearing na si Atty. Espinosa at nag-commit na gagawin ang pag-recompute at gumawa ng corrected bill, at magsulat sa individual customers,” (The good thing was that Atty. Espinosa, president of Meralco attended congress hearing and he made commitments to re-compute and make corrections on the bills and to write individual customers about their bill), she further said.

While she was not sure about the details of the refund, Devanavera surmised it might be in the form of deductions in the next billing period.