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ERC orders 3 electric cooperatives to refund nearly P294M

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered three electric cooperatives to refund a combined P293.89-million worth of customer charges, including some billed as far back as 2004.

In separate notices, the regulator sent its order to Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ceneco), Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Panelco I), and La Union Electric Co., Inc. (Lueco).

The refund represents “over-recoveries,” which happen when the rate initially charged to customers breaches the rate later computed by the electric cooperatives or distribution utilities (DUs) when cost adjustments are factored in.

In a statement on Tuesday, ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes VST Devanadera said the commission resolved to approve with modifications the respective applications of the three electric cooperatives for under-recoveries. 

“The Commission issues the Notice of Resolution so that the concerned DUs can already reflect the necessary bill adjustment and the consumers, in turn, will immediately benefit from the refund, considering the time between the approval of the Commission and the promulgation [of] the official Decision,” Ms. Devanadera said.

The formal decision will be issued “as soon as possible,” she added.

Ms. Devanadera said the computation of the over-recoveries was based on the ERC formula on the various automatic cost adjustments and true-up mechanisms, and a corresponding confirmation process.

In the notice of resolution issued by the ERC, it ordered Ceneco to refund total net over-recoveries amounting to around P237.95 million, which was collected from February 2004 to December 2017.

Panelco I was ordered to refund around P24.9 million for the period January 2014 to December 2016. Lueco was directed to refund about P31.04 million for the period covering January 2014 to December 2016.

“The DUs were directed to submit a monthly report showing the effected refund until the amount shall have been fully refunded,” the regulator said. — Victor V. Saulon

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