ERC modifies rules on refund of power bill deposits

By Myrna M. Velasco – July 2, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is modifying rules on pay-back and reporting requirements on the bill deposits of customers in the electricity sector.

In the draft ERC rules that had been circulated for stakeholder inputs, it was stipulated that “a customer who has paid his electric bills on or before its due date for three consecutive years may demand the full refund of the deposit even prior to the termination of his service.”

Concerned distribution utilities (DUs) are being instructed to “refund the deposit within one month from the receipt of (the customer’s) application.”

The universal rule on refund for end-users not particularized on that “prompt payment exemption”, however, would be for them to apply and seek refund of their bill deposit “within one month from termination of service provided all their bills have been paid.”

Bill deposits are being collected from residential and non-residential customers, “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,” according to the ERC.

The bill deposit amount, as emphasized, shall be equivalent to the estimated billing for one month based on the load schedule submitted by the customer.

There is mandated adjustment on the amount every year – at more or less 10 percent – depending on the monthly bill average of the customer as reckoned annually.

For the DUs serving the customers, the ERC also set forth rules on reporting requirements – with submission of documents mandated within 60 days from the effectively of the edict.

These shall cover summary of the principal amount of the bill deposits collected as well as summary of interests earned from the effectivity of the ERB (Energy Regulatory Board) Resolution No. 95-21 up to the present; the summary of bill deposits and interest charges already refunded; and sample electricity bills of residential and non-residential consumers showing the refund of bill deposit and/or the amount of interest credited to their monthly bills.