ERC: Firms collecting FiT-ALL face sanctions

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it will impose administrative sanctions against distribution utilities (DUs) that continue to collect from their customers the Universal Charges-Environmental Charges (UC-EC) and the Feed-in-Tariff Allowance (FiT-ALL) during quarantine period.

“There are items in our bill that customers should not be charged of. One of which is FiT-ALL, which should not be collected from electricity customers for two months since this is government’s way of helping the public. But there are DUs that continue to collect FiT-ALL from their customers.

We have said that the UC should not be charged in May, but there are still DUs that continue to do so. These are the violations,” ERC Chairman Agnes Devanadera said Tuesday.

The suspension of FiT-ALL and UC-EC payments are part of the advisories issued by the ERC to all DUs during the quarantine.

Devanadera said her office has already identified the DUs that defied the commission’s billing advisories. “We wrote them. There are corresponding administrative sanctions. They should comply to government directives which benefits the public.”

Senate Energy Committee Chairman Sherwin Gatchalian has implored the ERC to penalize DUs that fail to comply with its advisories and directives aimed at alleviating the financial difficulties of Filipino power consumers given strict quarantine measures.

Gatchalian pointed out that his committee received at least 204 complaints from 179 complainants. Out of the 179 complainants, 176 have filed complaints against the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and three are against the electric cooperatives.

The violations that Meralco committed include the failure to clearly indicate the word “estimate” on the bill, failure to provide line item for monthly installment, and the collection of the UC-EC and the FiT-ALL during the period specified in ERC advisories, according to the senator.

Citing a report from the ERC, Gatchalian said at least six distribution utilities have been found to be in violation of the ERC advisories. These erring distribution utilities are Olongapo Electricity Distribution Co.; Misamis Oriental II Electric Cooperative Inc.; Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative Inc.; Central Negros Electric Cooperative Inc.; Iloilo III Electric Cooperative Inc.; and Batangas II Electric Cooperative Inc.

“Many are not following the advisory of the ERC. I would like to encourage the ERC and take a proactive role in looking at the compliance,” Gatchalian said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“The advisories are there to help our constituents. But if the utilities don’t follow these advisories, then that spirit of assistance will be futile.”


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