ERC urged to stop Meralco bill deposit collection

Posted at 10/10/12 3:40 PM

MANILA - The consumer group National Association of Electricty Consumers for Reforms (NASECORE) wants the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to stop Manila Electric Co.'s (Meralco) bill deposit upgrade.

NASECORE President Pete Ilagan went to the ERC on Wednesday to deliver a letter which calls the bill deposit unreasonable and unjust.

According to Ilagan, the imposition is very dangerous as it invites consumer unrest, if not revolution.

Ilagan said the collection is illegal since it violates due process.

The group said Meralco has to first seek authority from the ERC for the increase it wants on the customer bill deposit and the scheme to be implemented.

NASECORE also asked the ERC to direct Meralco to submit an accounting of the customer bill deposits and notify each of the customers on the yearly growth of their bill deposit based on the interest rate.

It also wants Meralco to inform all customers about their option to demand a refund of their customer bill deposits based on the criterion set by the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers.

But Meralco said the collection will continue as it is warranted under the magna carta.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said the utility firm is open to extend the payment terms if the consumer cannot afford a one-time payment.

But Meralco admitted it will have no choice but to stop the collection if ERC orders them to do so.