ERC Intensifies Electricity Rate Reduction Efforts
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), in its bid to lower the electricity rates being charged to consumers, has intensified its rate reduction efforts to support and aid the government in scaling down the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the socioeconomic well-being of the end-users.“The Commission has been advocating for the promotion and protection of consumers’ interests, most especially during these challenging times, to ensure that they only pay what is just and reasonable, as intended by the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act). As such, we have operationalized various forms of rate relief to lessen the burden of electricity consumers considering the economic limitations, such as work stoppage, caused by the pandemic”
, ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera averred.
The ERC, in its Report to the Senate Technical Budget Hearing, recounted the various forms of rate reduction schemes that it implemented in order to provide rate relief to the consuming public, notably the following: (1) Reduction in the System Loss cap which was lowered by PhP0.05/kWh; (2) Reduced Feed-In-Tariff Allowance (FIT-All) by PhP0.1731/kWh; (3) Rate adjustment in the Net Settlement Surplus (NSS) equivalent to PhP1.94 Billion; (4) Refund of Regulatory Reset Experts Cost equivalent to PhP318.8 Million; (5) Lowering of the RCOA (Retail Competition and Open Access) threshold to cover more consumers that will enjoy lower generation rates; (6) Refund of over-recoveries of 64 Distribution Utilities (DUs) amounting to PhP3.3 Billion; (7) Refund of excess Market Transaction Fees (MTF) equivalent to PhP688 Million; (8) Avoided rate increase (amounting to PhP95.4 Million) due to the dismissal of PSALM’s Applications for recovery of Stranded Debts and Stranded Contract Costs due to Murang Kuryente Act; (9) Suspension of FIT-All and Universal Charge – Environmental Charge (UC-EC); and (10) Suspension of Bill Deposit Adjustment.“We owe it to the government and to the consuming public to find ways to bring down the cost of electricity. Electricity is no longer a commodity but more of a basic need to sustain the economy, education, and well-being of the citizenry. It should be made accessible and affordable to all Filipinos as it is everyone’s right to have it to lead a better life”
, Chair Devanadera added.
Meanwhile, the ERC also provided updates to the Senate Committee on Energy on the high electricity billing complaints filed with ERC against the various distribution utilities. Based on its Report, the ERC received a total number of 63,458 email complaints from the ECQ period until 6 October 2020. Out of the said total number, the ERC has Resolved a total of 3,370 cases, 2,993 are considered as Closed Cases, 1,279 are Set for Conference, 32,308 complaints have been referred to MERALCO and are awaiting reply from the complainants, and 23, 508 complaints are under negotiation between DUs and complainants.
The ERC also reported that the daily average number of email complaints received by its Office since ECQ are as follows: (a) 673 in May to June 2020; (b) 480 in August 2020; and (c) 159 in September 2020.