ERC eyes amendments to prepaid retail electricity-A A +A
Saturday, January 28, 2012
THE Energy Regulatory Commission is set to decide on the proposed amendments to the rules on prepaid retail electric service (PRES), including the applicable rates to be charged to consumers, as well as the charging of transaction fees by retailers of prepaid cards.
The ERC already received comments and suggestions, particularly from distribution utilities on PRES, like the use of short messaging system (SMS) and the internet, as well as the proposed non-disconnection between 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. for prepaid electricity consumers.
As per the PRES, the rates to be applied in any prepaid transaction should be based on the effective postpaid retail rate current at the time of purchase, the ERC noted.
“The DUs, however, propose that the actual cost of electricity service at the time of electricity consumption be applied to prepaid transactions,” it said.
It added that prepaid meters could also be provided with a mechanism or device for monitoring and managing the rate at which energy is being consumed and in receiving warning when credit drops to the agreed threshold.
“The DUs, on the other hand, propose the use of SMS and the internet to alert the customer needing reload to his/her prepaid electricity,” said the ERC.
Under Section 2.8 of the PRES Rules, the DU should allow reasonable means by which a residential customer shall have easy access to the purchase of electric energy credit for 24 hours to ensure continuous service. “The DUs propose a certain time period within which to disconnect the electric service like between 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.”
DUs also propose the imposition of transaction fees by retailers of prepaid cards and that PRES, which is presently applied to residential consumers, should likewise be offered to non-residential customers.
ERC chairperson Zenaida Cruz-Ducut, in a statement, said ERC invited comments and inputs on the proposed amendments to the PRES “to ensure the smooth implementation of said Rules and the envisioned success of prepaid retail electric service similar to such being experienced by the telephone companies in the country.”
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 28, 2012.