Electricity bills should be more transparent, Cusi said

Electricity bills should be more transparent, Cusi said

Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has called on power distributors to include the information on deposits and interests they earned in customers’ electricity bills for transparency.

Cusi has asked the distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) to inform their customers on their deposits.

“As part of transparency, part of making people informed of what they have and their rights are, we have instructed ERC to require all DUs, ECs to put a line (in electricity bills), how much is the deposit paid by the consumer,” Cusi said.

He said that customers should know what customers have deposited and the interest they have earned.

Consumers currently have no way to track their deposits with DUs and ECs have earned. They also don’t have a copy of their interest-earning deposits should they decide to refund from the power distributor’s service.

“Who has the burden of proof that you have a deposit and the amount of deposit you are entitled to? The burden of proof is with the consumer. You made your deposit and yet, when you have to get your deposit, the burden of proof is yours,” Cusi said.

With that, Cusi wants a line in power place that would indicate the amount of deposit that the interest should be earning.

The directive is something that power distribution companies do not have an issue with.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal for a utility group to do. It’s nothing special (since) that information already exists. I think it should only be harder for ECs to do because their computer systems are outdated. The better ones will have an easy time, the lousier ones will have a hard time. Like us, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) wouldn’t have a problem on that one,” Visayan Electric Co. Inc. (VECO) president Jin Aboitiz said.