Manila, Philippines --- (METERING.COM) --- October 6, 2008 - The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has confirmed that it plans to refund meter deposits for eligible residential, commercial and industrial customers from November 1.

The first group to receive its refund, with an average amount of P800 (US$17) per account, will be the residential customers, starting with those with the lowest consumption (less than 100 kWh per month). The customer base will then be expanded to those in higher consumption brackets until such time that corporate accounts and other non-residential accounts will be processed.

Eligible customers are those who paid a meter deposit – a practice that was begun in 1987 following Order 85-121 of the then Board of Energy. When applying for a new electric service application, the customer was required to pay a deposit – equivalent to half the cost of the electric meter or other equipment required for installation – against loss or damage of the meter.

However, in regulatory changes introduced by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) starting in 2004 the practice was stopped.

In terms of guidelines issued by the ERC in June, the meter deposits are to be refunded, with interest, either in cash or by cheque, or as a credit against future bills, and the distributors must start making these refunds no later than January 2009.

“Meralco stands firm in giving its customers what they are entitled to receive in accordance with ERC guidelines. It is ready to begin the meter deposit refund by this November 2008, way before the January 2009 deadline,” first vice president and customer retail services head Roberto R. Almazora declared. “We have been preparing for some time and are ready to implement sooner than required.”

Details of individual meter deposit refund amounts to Meralco customers will be notified on their bills from October onwards.

A total of P2.8 billion (US$59 million) is due to be refunded by 2013, of which just over half is the principal and the remainder interest.