ERC may tap COA’s help to audit Meralco refunds

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is considering seeking the assistance of the Commission on Audit (COA) to check if Manila Electric Co. has already returned the overcharges it made to its customers.

In previous years, the ERC directed Meralco to refund the bill deposit, meter deposit and income tax it has collected from its consumers.

“The ERC is short of auditors so we are mulling to seek the assistance of the COA to find out if the refunds that Meralco is supposed to have undertaken have already been completed or not.

We believe that there must be proper auditing by an independent party, and we are confident that the COA is the best entity that could render their evaluation on Meralco’s refund as they are reliable and unbiased”, said ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera.

The ERC had earlier sought the assistance of COA to verify whether the implementation of the approved unbundled distribution rates resulted in a fair return and the recovery of generation costs were indeed revenue-neutral to Meralco.

The COA then conducted a complete audit of the books, records, and accounts of the power utility giant.

“We are preparing to discuss our upcoming engagement with the COA as soon as practicable. We will rely on COA’s expertise to verify and ensure that what were supposed to have been refunded or credited to the consumers’ electricity accounts have been duly returned to them”, Devanadera said.

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