This is to furnish you with a copy of PHILRECA’s reply to Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) communication to distribution utilities (DUs) regarding compliance to its advisories during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period.
For your information and guidance.
HON. AGNES VST DEVANADERA
Chairperson and CEO
ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Pacific Center Building
San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center
Pasig City 1600
SUBJECT: Reply to the Energy Regulatory Commission’s Letter dated 22 May 2020 on Electric Cooperatives’ Compliance To Advisories and Regulatory Issuances
Dear Chairperson Devanadera
Greetings of Peace from PHILRECA!
PHILRECA, together with the 121 electric cooperatives operating nationwide, would like to express its unwavering support to government regulators as well as compliance to its directives on ensuring the welfare and interest of the electricity consumers.
During the first meeting of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission last Friday, 22 May 2020, the undersigned reported that electric cooperatives have been complying to all advisories and issuances of government regulatory agencies such as Department of Energy and Energy Regulatory Commission with regard to the protection of the interest of the consuming public. May we apprise the Commission on concerns cited in your letter dated 22 May 2020 as well as some other agenda that we deem are important to the Commission.
Grace Period and Installment Payment Scheme
Both the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission have released issuances on different dates giving reprieve to electricity consumers on the payment of their power bills, by extending their due dates up to 4 to 6 months, depending on the restriction category (Modified ECQ, Modified GCQ, and others).
On the said amortization payment scheme, ECs have duly informed the member-consumer-owners (MCOs) and were given discretion whether to pay in full or pay in staggered method without interest, penalty, or possibility of disconnection of service
Estimated versus Actual Meter Reading
In the case of meter reading, a number of electric cooperatives resorted to estimated billing (average of previous months’ billing) due to mobility restrictions during the quarantine period. ERC has instructed to use estimated billing to avoid possibility of exposure to COVID-19 in compliance to Inter Agency Task Force issuances.
As of this billing period, ECs have returned to using ACTUAL/PHYSICAL meter reading and have started using such readings to their billing statements.
Alleged High Billing during the ECQ
PHILRECA acknowledges that in some occasions, some consumers have raised their concerns on possibly high electricity bills that they received during the quarantine period. In addition to the coops’ information dissemination campaigns which aim to explain why there are increased electricity consumption due to the summer season and the prolonged stay at their residences leading to increases in electricity consumption, some ECs have also reached out to their LGUs to explain such circumstances.
All ECs have Consumer Welfare Desks where MCOs can reach out to in the event that they would be needing any clarification in their billing statements.
Pending Issues and Concerns of Electric Cooperatives
As part of our advocacy to provide affordable access to electricity, PHILRECA asks the indulgence of the Regulators as we appeal again the issue on Prompt Payment Discounts, minimum energy off-take (MEOT), fix charges, and “force majeure” provisions for the issuance of guidelines or advisory for the benefit of the member-consumer-owners.
In Item 8 of your latest advisory: “Availment of Prompt Payment Discount (PPD) may be subjected to negotiation between the contracting parties, and DUs are reminded that benefits from such availment are required to be shared with their customers.”
We understand that these concerns are covered by contractual obligations as contained in the Power Supply Agreements, but we honestly believe that the Commission has the power to extend considerations for the benefit of the MCOs in this time of crisis similar to the extension of payment due dates.
Leaving it up to the DUs to negotiate individually with power suppliers may be difficult. FOR HUMANITARIAN REASON, we appeal to the Commission to decide in favor of the consuming public in this time of crisis and issue specific guideline addressing the aforementioned issues on Prompt Payment Discounts, MEOT, fix charges and contractual capacity fees.
As we have reiterated before, if no intervention is done, paying these fixed charges due to contract capacity, capital recover fees (CRF), or MEOT will significantly result to a higher generation charge/component in a consumer’s electricity bill. If this request is accommodated, we assure you: It will not be the electric cooperatives who will benefit but the electricity end users themselves. The lower cost of electricity that would result to your positive accommodation will certainly help our electricity end users defray other important expenses during this period.
Thank you and we are hoping for your positive consideration of this request.
ATTY. JANEENE DEPAY-COLINGAN
Executive Director/General Manager
ATTY. JOSEFINA PATRICIA M. ASIRIT
CATHERINE P. MACEDA
ATTY. ALEXIS M. LUMBATAN
ATTY. PAUL CHRISTIAN M. CERVANTES
Commissioners, ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
EDGARDO R. MASONGSONG
, NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION
ALFONSO G. CUSI
, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
HON. PRESLEY C. DE JESUS
, PHILRECA Party-List
HON. SERGIO C. DAGOOC
, APEC Party-List
HON. GODOFREDO N. GUYA
, RECOBODA Party-List
HON. ADRIANO A. EBCAS
, Ako Padayon Pilipino Party-List