Cheap money for MVP, Salim: Meralco paid only P66M interest on P27B in consumer deposits
Millions of Manila Electric Co. consumers got mere peanuts for their accumulated electric bill deposits paid to the utility giant controlled by the Salim-Metro Pacific group.
Meralco received only P66 million from their deposits based on the .25 percent interest paid per year on the P26.56 billion deposits reported by Meralco as of last year.
While this is a big loss for Meralco consumers, this is also massive gain for Meralco which does not have to pay as much as 5.75 percent a year if it borrowed the same amount from commercial banks.
Meralco consumers have no choice but to pay for deposits to Meralco as provided for under the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers and Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR) which mandated all captive customers to pay a deposit to their distribution utility, equivalent to the customers’ estimated monthly bill.
This is the reason why National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (Nasecore), sued the four Energy Regulatory Commission directors for allowing Meralco to use the consumers’ electric bill deposits (BDs) to finance its operations.
The Ombudsman nas suspended for three months the four ERC commissioners – Alfredo S. Non, Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia M. Asirit and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana – for neglect of duty for allowing Meralco to use the deposits as part of its capital.
This is the second time the four ERC commissioners were suspended in the last six months.
The Ombudsman suspended for one year the same ERC commissioners last December for extending the competitive selection process (CSP) to accommodate the power distributors handpicked by Meralco.
Nasecore claimed that Meralco could have understated the consumer bill deposits as it claimed that the total deposits could be worth as much as P61.36 billion from 2006 to 2016.