Shookt ka ba sa kuryente bill mo? Meralco says 'overpayment' will be refunded

Meralco addresses on its website the issue of overbilling using a guide on how the May bill was computed.
PHOTO/S: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/VANESSA SANGCAP-ADONIS

At the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a number of companies—such as banks, insurance, and utilities—provided a grace period for bills payment.

One of them was Meralco, which gave a 30-day extension for bills due between March 1 to April 14, 2020.

But as Metro Manila transitioned into the modified ECQ and the "new normal," many families got the shock of their lives after seeing the amount due for their May 2020 Meralco bill.

Understanding your Meralco bill

On its website, Meralco addressed the issue with a guide on how the May bill was computed.

1. Why did the amount double or why is it more than the April bill?

During the ECQ, meter reading was suspended.

Since some meters were not read, some bills from March and April were estimated based on the past three months’ average daily consumption, following the Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR) issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

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For March 2020 bill: December 2019, January 2020, and February 2020.
For April 2020 bill: January 2020, February 2020, March 2020

Meralco also says some factors may have affected the May bill. This includes:

2. I already paid my March or April bill. Why do I have unpaid balance?

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Your latest bill will reflect all payments made and any outstanding amounts at the time the bill was printed.

If the printing of your March bill was delayed, and you received it in early May, this might already include the amount for your April consumption.

If you have any unpaid balance from February 2020 to April 2020, this will be under "Please pay immediately."

Your April consumption will also have the same due date found on your March bill.

Here are some samples of bills from Meralco:

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Sample Meralco March bill with previous balance and April bill under "Balance from Previous Billing."
PHOTO BY courtesy of Meralco
Sample Meralco March bill with April bill under "Balance from Previous Billing."
PHOTO BY courtesy of Meralco

I feel uneasy about the computation. What can I do about it?

Vanessa Sangcap-Adonis, a member of Facebook group Smart Parenting Village joked that this was her Mother's Day Gift. "#RIPWallet!"
PHOTO BY courtesy of Vanessa Sangcap-Adonis

If you think there was a mistake in the estimates, you may opt to defer payment of your bill.

In a statement on Monday, May 18, Senator Grace Poe asked Meralco "to issue a final and correct billing based on accurate meter reading of the actual kilowatt-hour consumption."

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She adds, "Until such accurately updated bill indicating exact staggered due is received by customers, it is proper that they hold of payment."

On the Facebook group Smart Parenting Village, some moms have suggested checking your actual meter reading, and then comparing it to what’s printed on your bill.

If there’s any discrepancy, make sure to take a photo of the meter so you can submit it as proof to Meralco when you file a dispute.

Here’s how to compute your electric bill, according to PEP.ph.

1. Get your last electric bill.

Find the Pres Rdgat the back of your bill. Go to your electric meter and get the current reading. Subtract the “Pres Rdg” from your last bill to the reading on the meter.

The total is your current consumption per kilowatt-hour (kWh) Here’s an example:

Meter reading: 2,383 kWh
Pres Rdg: 2,228 kWh

Following the formula, 2,383 kWH - 2,228 kWh = 155 kWH

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2. Find the latest Meralco rates online.

For April 2020, Meralco’s rates were at Php8.9951 per kWh. Multiply your current kWh with the Meralco rate, and this will be your estimated bill for the month.

For example: PHP8.9951 x 155 kWh = PHP1,394.2405

In other Facebook groups, some have suggested waiting for the June bill, where adjustments will be made.

You may also opt for the installment plan that Meralco is currently offering for unpaid bills with due dates between March 1 to May 15, 2020.

These will be converted to four equal monthly installments, with the first due date on May 30 at the earliest.

Meralco assures that once their operations normalize, they will read all meters and make the necessary adjustments. "You will only pay for what you consumed," according to their website.

In a statement to Business World, Meralco Senior Vice President and Legal Head William S. Pamintuan said that should there be any discrepancies or overestimation in customers’ bills, the customer can choose which billing month it would want he overpaid amount to be later credited.

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"Any overpayment made by a customer will be immediately refunded or credited to his succeeding months’ consumption at the customer’s option," Pamintuan said.

For any complaints or concerns, call Meralco’s hotline at 16211 or email them at customercare@meralco.com.ph

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Meralco addresses on its website the issue of overbilling using a guide on how the May bill was computed.
PHOTO/S: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/VANESSA SANGCAP-ADONIS
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
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