Electricity suppliers have ignored a credit option made available by the energy ministry for 30 percent of regulated-charge payments to operators.
A gradual improvement in electricity-bill payment records by consumers, combined with the offer’s credit terms, generally deemed unappealing and risky, appears to have stopped suppliers from taking advantage of the measure.
Not a single electricity supplier chose to utilize the credit offer for April-invoiced surcharge payments to power grid operator IPTO by a May 15 deadline.
Surcharges included in energy bills are paid by consumers and then relayed by suppliers to operators.
Suppliers showed little interest in the offer a month earlier. Just four suppliers chose to utilize the credit offer for March surcharge payments due in April.
The energy ministry acted swiftly to prepare and introduce this credit offer as a cash-flow relief measure amid fears of major energy-bill payment delays by consumers.
Consumers have improved their energy bill payment records over the past few weeks following a deterioration early in the lockdown. This upward trajectory has so far spared suppliers of cash-flow dramas.
Deferred surcharge payments must be settled four months down the road, along with any other existing obligations, according to the ministry’s credit offer extended to suppliers. They have adopted a cautious stance, fearing debt accumulation.
According to some sources, a number of suppliers have chosen to informally delay their relay of surcharges to the operator rather than take up the credit offer.