The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) released an order to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to submit a plan that would include the use of unclaimed tax refunds to reduce power rates paid by consumers.
Since September last year, the amount of unclaimed refund totals to P4.41 billion.
Meralco was also given authorization by the ERC to continue implementing the Supreme Court’s direction regarding the income tax refund to qualified customers until June 30.
Meralco is to submit a report within 10 days regarding the gross and net amount of refund as of end of December last year.
“It is incumbent upon MERALCO to inform its customers immediately upon receipt of the ERC Order through the publication in a newspaper of general circulation, for four consecutive weeks, of a notice to all consumers to claim their refund,” ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera said.
On the use of the unclaimed tax refunds, ERC urged the Meralco to open a separate interest-bearing bank account where the said funds could be deposited, for transparency and easy monitoring process.
Meanwhile, Meralco is to submit the list of customers who haven’t claimed their refund yet, and post the list in all its business offices for information and reference purposes.
“We are now in a new regulatory regime where consumer benefit is given primal consideration. This new set of ERC Commission will see to it that consumers do not only get billed with just and reasonable rates but we will also ensure that they get the best value for their hard-earned money,” Devanadera said.
“We enjoin the distribution utilities (DUs) to devise ways and means that will reduce their electricity rates with the advent of the passage of the “Murang Kuryente” legislation,” she said.