‘Consumers can expect interest on their money’


By Francis Allan L. Angelo


PANAY Electric Co. (Peco), Iloilo City’s sole power distributor, will start refunding the meter deposits, amounting to some P26 million in principal alone, of almost 50,000 consumers January 2009.


But how much will the consumers receive from the distribution utility?


Engr. Randy Pastolero, executive assistant to Peco president Miguel Cacho, said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) set three formulas for the computation of meter deposit interest outlined in ERC Resolution No. 8-2008.


Residential customers as well as non-residential customers who paid their meter deposits prior to the implementation of Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) Resolution 95-21 will earn 6% percent interest per year. ERB Resolution 95-21 is the standard rules governing electrical power services promulgated September 22, 1995.


The second formula was based on Resolution No. 95-21 when the ERB validated that meter deposit and the interest rate at that time was 10% per year. The ERB is the predecessor of the ERC which regulates power producers, distributors and other players in the energy industry.


When the ERC was created, the commission issued the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers and the Distribution Services which pegged the interest rates for meter deposits at 6% per year starting year 2005.


Pastolero said they have no choice but to refund the meter deposits of their consumers “because we were ordered by our regulator to do so.”


Consumers have three options on how to avail the refund – cash refund through a check issued by Peco; application of the refund on outstanding accountability of the consumer; or use the refund for future billings. 


What if a consumer already died? To whom will the refund go?


Pastolero said the heirs of the dead consumers are entitled for the refund provided they present the death certificate of the consumer and identification documents.


The Peco executive said they will schedule the release of refund to avoid consumers from crowding their office.