(Eagle News) – Expect a refund in electric bills after the Energy Regulatory Commission’s order for the refund to electricity customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) some P1.08 billion after alleged “miscalculations” in the net settlement surplus (NSS) allocations from June last year to May this year.
The P1.08 billion was the accumulated amount which ERC has ordered the market operators of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market to return to electric customers covered by Meralco, the largest electricity distribution utility (DU) in the country.
An ERC statement released on Monday cited an order of the Commission issued on August 1 that directed the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation/Market Operators (PEMC/MO) to make the necessary adjustments to the NSS allocations.
-P1.774 B total adjustments-
The total adjustments would amount to approximately P1.774 billion, for all electricity customers nationwide, including those not covered by Meralco.
The adjustments were ordered after the ERC discovered the erroneous formula used by the PEMC/MO, which used a + instead of a – sign in its Line Loss and Congestion Charge (LLCC). This forms part of the computation for the NSS.
“Specifically, an NSS exists if the total payment of customers exceeds the total payment to generation companies,” ERC explained in its order.
“The erroneous formula entered by the PEMC/MO, as shown herein resulted to the incorrect computation of the NSS allocation across all DUs and other trading participants from June 2018 to May 2019,” the ERC’s order said.
“The Commission directed the PEMC/MO to immediately effect the refund to consumers. Total refunds due our Luzon and Visayas consumers amount to P1.403 billion,” said ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera.
She said that 77 percent of this amount, or P1.08 billion, will be refunded to customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco).
The rest, or P321.36 million will be refunded to consumers of other distribution utilities.
Devanadera said the remaining P371 million will be due generation companies, retail electricity suppliers, and directly connected customers.
-Refund within one year-
According to the order, the Commission directed the PEMC/Market Operator to ‘implement the NSS correction/adjustment either through collection or refund for a period or not more than one year starting from the July 2019 billing period.”
The order came about after the provincial government of Bohol,on behalf of the power consumers there, “wrote the Commission seeking for information and clarification regarding the sudden increase in their customers’ electricity rates, apparently due to higher prices under the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.”