Why Meralco, water firms haven't given refunds to consumers
MANILA, Philippines - Consumers are still waiting for their refunds from water and power companies.
In April, the Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. needs to return to Meralco more than P5 billion in line loss rental doubly charged to Meralco customers.
PSALM appealed the decision but the regulator turned it down. Now, Meralco proposed to deduct P73.9 million a month from its payables to PSALM until the refund amount is satisfied.
Aside from this, the ERC also ruled that Meralco can take back overcharged line rental from various power plants and return the amount to consumers. Meralco is asking for P5.42 billion from six suppliers.
In total, Meralco needs to refund consumers more than P10 billion.
"Wala hong question na nagkaroon ng sobrang singil sa Meralco consumers... Di ko masasabi timeline pero ginagawa naman po namin lahat," ERC executive director Francis Juan said.
Meralco said it is ready to implement the refund once PSALM and power producers return the overcharged amounts.
"As soon as we receive the refund from NPC/PSALM or from SGCs, we will immediately pass this through to consumers," Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesman, said.
No water refund yet
Aside from the power refund, consumers are not likely to get the much-hyped reduction in water rates despite a decision from the regulator.
The MWSS ordered Maynilad to cut rates P1.29 per cubic meter every year in the next five years, which means a P25 reduction in water bill for those using up to 20 cubic meters monthly.
Manila Water, on the other hand, was required to reduce P1.45 per cubic meter every year in the next five years. This is equivalent to P29 reduction in the monthly bill for customers using 20 cubic meters a month.
Consumer groups are dismayed by the delay in the refunds.
"Ano ito moro-moro? Niloloko lang tayo," Teddy Casino, convenor of Water for the People Network, said.
Both Maynilad and Manila Water officials have said they are not implementing the decision and will instead wait for the ruling of the arbitration panel.
ABS-CBN to get MWSS' comment but no one was available.