To ease the impact of high generation costs, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has allowed distribution utilities (DUs) to pay their spot market purchases on an installment basis.

The ERC said purchases from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) may now be settled via a four-month staggered payment, starting with bills payable this month.

Through the measure, the commission hopes to lessen the effect of high generation rates for consumers of DUs with high WESM exposure amid the recent heat waves and alert notices on the power grids.

The ERC said it will issue an order directing the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) and the DUs to 'immediately implement the payment scheme.'

'The commission will also direct the IEMOP not to impose penalties on DUs as a result of the said arrangement,' the regulator said.

Pursuant to Article 32 of the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers, power distributors may offer alternative payment options to consumers under terms mutually accepted by both parties.

Meanwhile, it is still uncertain if there will be changes in the consumer bills of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which earlier announced an increase of P0.6436 per kilowatt-hour in electricity rates this month.

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