By Myrna M. Velasco
After an order that was first directed on Manila Electric Company (Meralco), it is now the turn of the other private distribution utilities (DUs) to refund “regulatory reset cost” to their customers.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has rendered separate ruling on the refund of 12 more private DUs for a total payback of more than P20.8 million or a range of P0.0058 to P0.0694 per kilowatt-hour.
The power utilities that had been mandated to refund have been: Cabanatuan Electric Corporation (CELCOR); Clark Electric Distribution Corporation (CEDC); Dagupan Electric Power Corp. (DECORP); La Union Electric Company (LUECO); San Fernando Electric Light & Power Co. (SFELAPCO); Tarlac Electric, Inc. (TEI); Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI); Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (CEPALCO); Cotabato Light and Power Co. (CLPC); Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC); Iligan Light and Power, Inc. (ILPI); and Visayan Electric Company (VECO).
On this batch of private power utilities, VECO has the highest refund amount of P8,885,965.00; followed by CEPALCO at P5,098,534; and then SFELAPCO at P1,395,821.
The total regulatory reset cost refund to ratepayers, according to the ERC, hovered at P284,727,996 – including the payback that had already been previously ordered for Meralco subscribers.
The ERC reiterated that the DUs must reflect the refund in their billings one-time for this month of July – and shall be set as a separate item in the electric bills.
“The ERC ordered the refund of the amount collected from the DUs’ customers as regulatory reset cost which remained unutilized,” the regulatory body has reiterated.
ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera expounded that “the Commission has ruled that regulation should be at the cost of the government, and we will consider the same ruling in our current review of the regulatory reset process.”
After completion of the refund, the DUs are similarly mandated “to submit a report to the Commission on their compliance with (the) refund directive.”
Regulation of the tariffs being passed on by the country’s power utilities to their customers is evaluated and decided upon via performance-based rate setting (PBR) methodology that had been instituted for the restructured electricity sector.