ERC orders DUs, ECs in Odette-hit areas to relax electric bill collections

erc logo

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has issued a directive to distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) in provinces affected by Typhoon Odette to give leeway to consumers in paying their electric bills within the next two months.

Other than the power distributors, the ERC said its directive also applies to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, power generation companies, and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

The ERC emphasized that during force majeure events (FME) such as typhoons, the NGCP and DUs may immediately implement their capital expenditure projects for power restoration without seeking prior approval from the quasi-judicial body, citing the Rules for Setting Transmission Wheeling Rates and the Amended Rules for the Approval of Regulated Entities’ Capital Expenditure Projects (CAPEX Rules), respectively.   

Since immediate reporting may hamper the restoration work, an FME Notice only is required within three months from the occurrence of the event.

Alongside this, the ERC directed NGCP, DUs, and ECs to restore power as soon as possible.

“We want to assure the consuming public that there are mechanisms in place that allows the concerned electric power stakeholders to immediately respond and address the electricity needs of those affected by force majeure events,” ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said in a statement.

NGCP reported on Wednesday night that it has restored an additional three 69-kilovolt transmission lines serving four ECs in Leyte. Bohol remains the only island province in the Visayas Grid totally without power, while transmission has been partly restored in Negros, Cebu, Leyte, and the Surigao provinces.

The National Electrification Administration said on Tuesday that power in Bohol, Dinagat Islands and Surigao Del Norte — including Siargao Island — may not be restored before yearend.