Zenaida G. Cruz-Ducut,
ERC Chairperson
 
Manila, Philippines --- (METERING.COM) --- July 31, 2009 - Rules for prepayment metering in the Philippines have been approved by the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), paving the way for distribution utilities to offer the service to residential customers.

Under the rules a prepaid electricity meter system must have the capabilities to load the purchased energy, display real time and historical information on how the load is being consumed, and give warning that the load is close to zero to provide a sufficient buffer before electricity is completely disconnected.

The costs of the system must be shouldered by the distributors, who may not collect a deposit. Distributors also are required to provide reasonable means for residential consumers to be able to purchase electricity credits twenty four hours per day.

Existing post-paid consumers will have the option to apply for a prepayment system on a voluntary basis for a six-month trial period to assess its impact. Consumers who opt to move permanently to prepayment will have their bill deposits refunded, whereas those who decide to revert to the post-paid service will be required to pay a bill deposit equivalent to their average monthly purchase over the past six months.

“Budget conscious residential consumers can now control their electricity consumption better,” commented ERC Chairperson Zenaida G. Cruz-Ducut, adding that the rates for prepayment will be the same as those charged under the existing post-paid scheme, unless a different tariff is approved on application from a distributor.

The prepayment meters must conform with either the IEC or ANSI standards, and any prepaid technology may be used, except a disposable magnetic strip card.