ERC to look into complaints of overcharging by power firms

Numerous complaints on increasing electricity rates have prompted the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to launch an investigation on the accuracy and reasonableness of the generation rates being passed on by distribution utilities (DUs) to its consumers.

Given that one of its core functions is consumer protection, the ERC said the investigation seeks to confirm whether the charges passed on to the consumers are only eligible costs and that there are no hidden and extraordinary charges.

The nationwide investigation will cover all private utilities (PUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country and their respective power suppliers under their power supply agreements (PSAs).

The ERC warned that the DUs will not only be required to refund the excess amounts collected if found overcharging based on the findings, but may also be slapped with appropriate penalties when warranted.

According to the ERC, the validation requires submission of documents to support the detailed calculation of fuel charges that account for a significant portion of the increases in electricity rates since January 2022.

“In the course of ERC’s monitoring of monthly submissions from PUs/ECs of their generation charges, we have identified the need to conduct a more thorough validation of the passed-on or pass through charges under certain PSAs,” ERC chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said.

The first batch of directives addressed to PUs/ECs and their respective PSA counterparties has already been released by the commission for the substantiation of the generation charges.

This batch comprises of 63 letters which the ERC prioritized based on written complaints filed in the commission or received through the Department of Energy and Office of the President.

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