BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
The Central Negros Electric Cooperative should come up with a clear statement regarding its reimbursement of consumers for overcharged electric bills in the previous months, consumer group leader Wennie Sancho said.
He said the power utility firm should specify the amount deducted from the bills.
Sancho, secretary-general of Power Watch Negros, pointed out that Ceneco’s statement is filled with inconsistencies as if it has already complied with the order of the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“It is frustrating for those consumers who are expecting reimbursement only to be informed that the overcharged amount was already deducted from their monthly bills,” he said.
Ceneco was among the six distribution utilities in the country that failed to comply with the directive of the ERC not to charge customers the feed-in tariff allowance (FIT-All) and universal charge-environmental charge (UC-EC) to help lower electricity rates during the lockdown against the spread of Covid-19.
The distribution utilities and electric cooperatives that violated the billing rules were asked to refund the overcharged amount to consumers.
Ceneco, in an official statement, maintained it has not violated the ERC order on the suspension of the collection of FIT-All and UC-EC charges, and that its advisories have been fully and correctly implemented.
It said that when the ERC released its advisory on March 20, Ceneco already started billing its consumers for the month of March. It added the billing period starts every 16th day of the month.
Ceneco stressed that their billing system does not allow changes in the rates in the middle of the billing cycle as this would result in the non-uniformity of rates charged to consumers.
It said they suspended the FIT-All charge of P0.0495 per kilowatt hour for April and May, while the order to suspend the UC-EC of P.0025 per kWh came out on May 22, adding that they implemented the directive the following month, or in June.*