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Thursday, April 19, 2018

DOE Pursues Consumers’ Perspective for Electric Bill Reforms


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As part of its commitment to empower consumers, the Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with local government units and electric cooperatives of Leyte province, today held a briefing on the Proposed Uniform Monthly Electricity Bill Format that contains more pro-consumer information.

Two briefings were set for Tacloban City on 19 April 2018 (Thursday) at the DILG Convention Hall and in Ormoc City on 20 April 2018 at the Ormoc City Multi-Purpose Hall.

The briefing follows Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi’s directive to fully implement the consumer welfare promotion provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

The briefing intends to inform the public on the Unbundling of Electricity Rates and the Proposed Uniform Monthly Electricity Bill Format of distribution utilities/electric cooperatives in relation to the implementation of Section 36 on the Unbundling of Rates and Functions of the EPIRA.

The law requires that any electric power industry PARTICIPANT shall functionally and structurally unbundle its business activities and rates in accordance with the sectors (generation, transmission and supply) and shall reflect the respective costs of providing each service.

DOE Undersecretary Petronilo L. Ilagan, who represented the Energy Chief, said the DOE’s battlecry is to serve consumers.

“The topmost element in achieving this [public service] is through greater transparency. This is the core message for today’s pivotal event that would spark reform in the consumer’s electric bill,” Ilagan said.

The DOE official said the discussions with the energy stakeholders endeavor to support the realization of the provisions in the EPIRA.

“We anchor this activity on empowering all electricity consumers. We need to equip them with accurate information as provided in the monthly electric bill to enable them to manage their electricity consumption more efficiently,” he said.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) issued in 2007 a policy directing all distribution utilities/electric cooperatives to post in their respective websites the breakdown of their generation charges, including but not limited to, their sources.

Another topic of discussion was about “ancillary services,” which are needed in the transmission sector to maintain the stability and security of the grid.

The DOE also shed light on the bill deposit, which is required from customers by distribution utilities of new and/or additional service equivalent to the estimated billing for one month. Currently, bill deposit is also not shown in the monthly billing statement.

Participants in the briefing were local government units of Tacloban City and Ormoc City, including barangay officials, the five electric cooperatives operating in Leyte, local media and other sectors related to the power industry.

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