ERC lauds Electric Cooperatives that do not collect Bill Deposits
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) lauded a number of Electric Cooperatives (ECs) that do not collect Bill Deposits from its customers. In Luzon, five (5) ECs waived their respective collection of Bill Deposits, namely: (1) Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO); (2) Lubang Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LUBELCO); (3) Nueva Vizcaya Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NUVELCO); (4) Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO); and (5) Quirino Electric Cooperative, Inc. (QUIRELCO). Similarly, two (2) ECs from Visayas - Cebu I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CEBECO I) and Bantayan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BANELCO), and three (3) ECs from Mindanao - Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LANECO), Misamis Occidental II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MOELCI II), and Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO) opted not to collect the said Bill Deposit.
“These Electric Cooperatives must be emulated and lauded for truly living up to the cooperative and “bayanihan” spirits which has been the inspiration in establishing these electric cooperatives”, ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera stated.
The ERC, in its evaluation, also found that the distribution utilities, both Private Utilities and ECs, have collected an aggregate amount of approximately PhP26.280 Billion as of 23 January 2019 as Bill Deposits.
Bill deposits are collected from electricity consumers applying for new and/or additional service and from disconnected consumers who were previously not subject to bill deposits.
The ERC is currently revisiting its Rules on Bill Deposits to incorporate or amend portions thereof in order to include provisions that will protect consumers’ interests.
“ERC commends these Electric Cooperatives for exerting efforts to reduce their consumers’ electric bill by not charging and collecting Bill Deposits and, thus, increasing their purchasing power. We encourage the other DUs to forego the charging of Bill Deposit, considering that there is no additional cost incurred and accrued to them. If foregoing the collection of Bill Deposit is not possible, it is but fair and appropriate that the customers be entitled to some interests which the Commission is now ironing out” ERC Chair Devanadera averred.