Regulator tells Meralco to use unclaimed refunds

By Jordeene B. Lagare – February 20, 2019
from The Manila Times

Unclaimed Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) refunds should be utilized by the distribution utility to lower power rates, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced on Tuesday.

Meralco workers inspect electric meters in Manila. PHOTO BY DANTE DENNIS DIOSINA JR.

Meralco was given 30 days from receipt of the order to submit a proposal on how the money could be used to reduce distribution charges, along with a detailed list of customers — including names and the amounts due.

A status of the refund program as of the end of last year, meanwhile, should be submitted within 10 days, the ERC said.

“It is incumbent upon Meralco to inform its customers immediately upon receipt of the ERC order through the publication in a newspaper of general circulation, for four consecutive weeks, of a notice to all consumers to claim their refund,” ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera said in the statement.

The notice, along with the detailed customer list, should also be posted in all Meralco business offices.

The ERC order, docketed on February 4, primarily approved a Meralco petition to extend the refund period, the new deadline for which will be June 30, 2019.

Unclaimed refunds, the regulator said, should be deposited by Meralco in a separate interest-bearing account for “transparency and easy monitoring purposes.”