CUSTOMERS of Enrique Razon-led MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) will have extra reasons to appreciate its services, as they will collectively enjoy more than P5-million worth of bill deposits this year.
MORE president Roel Castro said during the turnover ceremony of the bill-deposit refund to the first batch of customers that the utility firm will implement the repayment monthly.
“It will happen every month, starting this [June],” Castro confirmed. “Based on those accounts that opened—and if there won’t be any other default or arrears—that’s about over P5 million [worth] that we will be returning this year.”
The first three customers who received their bill-deposit refund were Emmanuel Improgo; Baby Jean Agustin; and Barangay Chairman Romeo Losario Jagorin Jr. of Brgy. Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo City.
The bill deposit is a payment by the consumer at the time they apply for their own electric service. The refund of the bill deposit is mandated by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to all distribution utilities (DUs).
Under Article 7 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers, DUs should refund the bill deposit after three years, or 36 months, for customers who pay on time, and without records of disconnection.
The MORE official urged other DUs to initiate the same move: “I was asking some DUs: ‘Why are you not returning [bill-deposit refunds]?’ They said, ‘Well, the customers are not asking for it.’
Castro furthered: “That is where I can draw the line between the DU that is customer-focused [and those that are otherwise]. Because even if the customer does not ask for it, we go out of our way to inform the customers that this is due you, and we will return it.”
“Since we don’t have any intention to use the money, we do not have the intention to keep the money; we do not have the intention of using it for our operations,” as he rhetorically asked: “[So why keep such when it is already due for return and be refunded] to customers?”
ERC commissioner Alexis Lumbatan, who was also present during the ceremony, commended MORE Power: “It is very seldom for DUs to return the bill deposit. I am so happy that I am here today, taking part in this great milestone.
Lumbatan went on to say: “For five years I have been with the commission [as] the oversight commissioner for consumer affairs, that’s why this milestone is…very close to me.”
JVA in the works
MEANWHILE, Primelectric Holdings Inc. (PRIMELECTRIC)—an affiliate company of MORE Power—recently proposed a joint-venture agreement (JVA) with Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO).
The former is scheduled to present the proposed JVA to Bacolod City officials on June 5.
Castro, who is also the president of PRIMELECTRIC, said the company is committed to making substantial investments in the area, with the goal of improving power supply and distribution services for consumers there, where CENECO currently serves more than 200,000.
The PRIMELECTRIC official mentioned the possibility of holding a referendum for the proposed JVA within this year, as he revealed that the National Electrification Administration guidelines’ requirement is a majority vote of ‘50 percent plus one’ from members of good standing. ”