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Iloilo electricity consumers seeking refund

Consumers in Iloilo City, through the representation of Koalisyon Bantay Kuryente (KBK), are seeking refund of the alleged overbilling in system loss charges in their electric bills by power utility firm MORE Electric and Power Corporation.
           

In a complaint filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) last Friday (September 4, 2020), KBK Representatives Ruperto Supeña, Jose Allen Aquino and Edilberto Orense alleged that MORE Power had been “defrauding” Iloilo City consumers with inflated system loss charges as reflected in their electric bills.
           

“We bring this suit on behalf of the countless suffering Iloilo consumers who are similarly enduring not just constant power outages but overcharging by MORE,” the complainants said.
            

They noted that the higher charges had been reflected in the billings dispatched by MORE Power in March, April, May and July,  except June because the company failed to issue electric bills for that billing cycle.
          

 The KBK complainants indicated that the system loss charge passed on by MORE Power in March was at P0.4729 per kWh; then it was still almost steady at P0.4719 per kWh in April.
            

However, for May billing, they noted that the system loss charge swelled to a record-high P0.7612 per kWh; and it remained relatively prohibitive at P0.6617 per kWh in the July billing.
           

“It appears that MORE has been charging the Iloilo City consumers far more than what they are allowed under ERC Resolution No. 20-17,” the complainants expounded.
           

Under existing ERC rules, a private power distribution company like MORE Power can only pass on system loss charge within the 6.25-percent cap prescribed by the industry regulator. If its system loss will go beyond that limit, the power utility must absorb the cost and should not be passing it on to its customers.
           

But in the case of Iloilo City consumers, they noted that this has been escalating in recent months, hence, the allegations of overcharging came about; and this is what the KBK complainants have been seeking the ERC to investigate and act on.
          

“As part of its mandate to protect consumers, the Honorable Commission should immediately require MORE to explain and justify the system loss charges it has been collecting from us,” they pleaded.
           

Supeña, in particular, noted that such act of trickery in the pass-on of charges by a servicing power utility like MORE is not warranted, especially at this time of a pandemic when many Filipinos are barely surviving from their incomes or household budgets.
           

Given the wretched situation of many consumers in the area at this point, the complainants stated “Should it be confirmed that they have been overcharging the hapless Iloilo City consumers for system loss over and above the cap imposed by the Honorable Commission, MORE should be made to refund the excess charges to the consumers of Iloilo.”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/07/iloilo-electricity-consumers-seeking-refund/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iloilo-electricity-consumers-seeking-refund)

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