Meralco rates may go down in July due to ERC’s refund order

Electricity rates of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) may drop this month, largely due to the refund order issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The ERC has directed Meralco to refund distribution-related charges totaling P21.78 billion or an average of P0.4790 per kilowatt-hour covering the period July 2015 to June 2022.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said this is equivalent to P0.87 centavos per kWh for residential customers.

“We will comply with the ERC’s directive. We are currently studying the order so we can start reflecting this in the power bills this month,” he said.

“While we have yet to receive suppliers’ billings, there is a possibility that the refund can offset the expected increase in generation charge and lead to a reduction in the overall power rates for July,” Zaldarriaga said.

ERC said the refund would be implemented in the next billing cycle from Meralco’s receipt of the decision.

The ERC’s refund directive is the fourth since January 2021 — P13.9 billion on 27 January 2021, P4.8 billion in February last year, P7.7 billion in March 2021, and P21.8 billion on June 16, 2022.

According to the ERC, Meralco’s previous refunds will be implemented until 2023. Thus, the updated total refund for residential consumers is now at P1.8009 per kWh, including the latest P21.8 B refund.

ERC directed Meralco to effect the refund in 12 months or until the amount is fully refunded to its customers and to reflect the refund rate as a separate line item in customers’ bills during the refund period.