MERALCO REFUND TO TAKE 10 YEARS TO COMPLETE

Manila, June 20, 2003 By Rocel C. Felix (Star) The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) P30-billion refund program is likely to be completed by 2012.

In a recent presentation at the House of Representatives on its refund program, Meralco officials disclosed that its payout scheme that will take at least 10 years to finish, will be done in four phases.

At the same time, consumers that can no longer be traced or cannot be accounted for will not be eligible to claim refunds. These include terminated or disconnected customers.

Meralco officials said that Phase III is scheduled from May 2004 to 2008 while Phase IV will take longer to complete, from May 2004 to 2012.

So far, Meralco has refunded a total of P770 million or about 37 percent of its P2.1 billion refund budget for the first phase. This covers consumers with consumption of up to 100 kilowatthours (kwh) per month.

For Phase II which Meralco expects to implement by November this year, it has programmed P4.5 billion which is more than its original allocation of about P2.7 billion. The second phase of the refund covers consumers of up to 300 kwh per month.

Earlier, Meralco said that as of June 14, it has refunded about P770 million. The said amount was either applied to unpaid bills, June bills or was given as cash refunds.

Meralco was ordered by the Supreme Court last April 10 to refund its customers and this included the directive to disallow the inclusion of income taxes in the computation of the power distributorís operating expenses.

The SC ordered Meralco to stop the collection of 16.7 centavos per kwh and refund its customers the income tax charges it incoporated in its basic rates since February 1994.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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