DOE’s Advisory on the Deferment of Obligations and Dues for Electricity
By: Atty. Cindy T. Climaco
Recognizing the necessity of electricity amidst the battle of COVID-19 and easing the burden of the electricity consumers, the Department of Energy (“DOE”), thru Sect. Alfonso G. Cusi, previously announced on 18 March 2020, the deferment of obligations and dues for thirty (30) days after 14 April 2020.
The announcement was made in relation to the declaration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 17 March 2020 which placed the entire Luzon under Enhanced Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) until 13 April 2020.
On 07 April 2020, however, President Duterte extended the ECQ until 30 April 2020. And then again on 23 April 2020, upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), President Duterte, for the second time, extended the ECQ until 15 May 2020.
As such, the DOE, on 05 May 2020, released an Advisory amending and clarifying its Advisory on 15 April 2020, to wit:
- The work from home policy implemented for ERC’s employees, both regular and contractual, in all its offices shall continue until 15 May 2020;
- Distribution Utilities (DUs) and Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES) operating in areas that continue to be under the ECQ are directed to further extend the grace period for the payment of their consumers’ electricity bills falling due within the ECQ period of 16 March to 15 May 2020, without interest, penalties, fees and other charges. The directive on the amortization of payments in four (4) equal monthly installments, payable in the four (4) succeeding billing months following the end of the ECQ shall continue to be observed, but payments thereof by customers in areas covered by ECQ extension until 15 May 2020 shall commence no earlier than 30 May 2020;
- DUs and RES that are operating in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) shall retain the grace period on the due date of their consumers’ electricity bills not earlier than 15 May 2020, without interest, penalties, fees and other charges. Similarly, the directive on the amortization of payments in four (4) equal monthly installments, payable in the four (4) succeeding billing months is hereby reiterated;
- Actual payments received by the DU during the said period are still required to be immediately remitted proportionately to the concerned entities.
Consequently, DUs are authorized to adopt incentive schemes to encourage early payment of the deferred amount by customers who are able to settle ahead of the four (4) months;
- The use of estimated billing pursuant to Section 3.5.4 of the Distribution Services and Open Access Rules (DSOAR) to ensure the safety of meter readers and to comply with the physical distancing directive for the containment of COVID-19 is being reiterated, provided that the word “ESTIMATE” be clearly written on the consumer bill and that corresponding adjustments be made as soon as practicable. The bill estimate should be based on the average of the consumers’ billing of three months immediately preceding the ECQ;
- Government entities that are contestable customers shall observe the regular payment schedule of their electricity bills starting 16 May 2020;
- The Generators/Suppliers, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), National Power Corporation (NPC), National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Independent Power Producer Administrators (IPPAs) and the Market Operator (MO) shall extend the same payment scheme as provided in the preceding paragraph, to the RES, DU and other customers, depending on whether such customer is operating under an ECQ or GCQ. Availment of Prompt Payment Discount (PPD) will still be in accordance with the parties’ approved supply contract;
- The suspension of the FIT-ALL collection from electricity customers is applicable for March and April billing periods to be implemented on the next electricity bill to be issued by the Collection Agents; and
- The DUs’ submission of power supply contract utilization report, record of payments received from customers, and record of payments made to suppliers, covering the period 16 March to 15 May 2020 shall be not later than 15 June 2020 to be emailed to email@example.com.
For your guidance.