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June 8, 2023 People's Journal 276 views

ILOILO Representative Jam Baronda has applauded the initiative of MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) to voluntarily return to its customers their bill deposit — a significant move which is not usually done by distribution utilities (DUs).

“We commend MORE Power for taking the lead in giving back the bill deposits of its consumers who have complied with the requisites,” Baronda said.

The bill deposit is what customers pay in advance when applying for a power line. Pursuant to Article 7 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electric Consumers, DUs have the obligation to return it if within 3 years, a customer pays on time and has no record of disconnection

However, the law provides that the customers must apply for the bill deposit refund by themselves. It does not mandate the DUs to voluntarily process the refund.

As a result, Baronda urged other DUs to emulate the initiative of MORE Power who did not wait for their customers to submit an application but instead, voluntarily informed the “eligible customers” to process their refund in their office.

“We call on other distribution utilities to effect the provision of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers on the refund of bill deposits by informing and reminding their consumers of this as they might have already forgotten their deposit,” Baronda said.

Baronda added that the House of Representatives has oversight power to see if the DUs are following through on the implementation of the bill deposit refund.

“We will also look into the exercise of Congressional oversight by asking for reports of compliance from the DUs,” he insisted.

MORE Power President and CEO Roel Castro first said that they are set to return a P5 million bill deposit refund this year to eligible customers who pay on time.

MORE Power began managing the supply of electricity in Iloilo City by virtue of the Franchise Law enacted by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019.

In its three years of operation, it has gained commendation from the Energy Regulatory Commission for its initiative concerning the bill deposit refund and because of the good service and lower electricity cost it provides to its customers.

MORE Power remained the lowest electricity rate in the country.