Meralco urged to extend installment payment scheme for customers
Robie de Guzman • January 12, 2021 • 579
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called on power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to extend its installment-based payment scheme to help its customers cope with economic difficulties due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hontiveros said implementing stricter payment policies might lead to a “disconnected nation” that will make life harder for poor families and derail efforts to revive the country’s economy.
“Hindi maganda na ngayong 2021, maliban sa COVID-19 ay magkaroon din ng epidemiya ng tanggalan ng kuryente sa ating bansa,” she said in a statement.
“Mas mahihirapan umahon ang bansa mula sa pandemya at sa bagsak na ekonomiya kung mas maraming Pilipino ang mapuputulan ng kuryente sa kanilang mga kabahayan dahil sa mga polisiya ng Meralco,” she added.
Meralco earlier announced it has begun sending out notices of disconnection to customers using 201 kilowatt-hours and more per month, and those who are behind in their monthly payments.
The power distributor also said it will be hiking power rates up to P8.7497 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this year, which means that an average household consuming 200 kWh per month will be charged around an additional ₱55 in their bill.
Hontiveros said the disconnection policy combined with new rate adjustment in the generation charge is on top of the already high regular monthly electricity bills consumers must pay.
“Itong anunsyo ng MERALCO ay mistulang one-two-three punch sa ating mga kawawang consumer, na marami ngayon ay knock-out na sa mga utang, mahal na bilihin at kakulangan ng hanapbuhay dahil sa pandemya,” she said.
“Mas malaki na ang singil ng kuryente, andiyan pa ang panganib na matanggalan ng kuryente kapag hindi nakabayad ng buo. Baka maulit o mas malala ito sa ‘bill shock’ last year na inalmahan ng ating mga kababayan noong 2020,” she added.
Hontiveros expressed hope that MERALCO will stick to its corporate motto of “May liwanag ang buhay,” and work with the government towards programs that will prevent the denial of power services to many Filipinos who are struggling amid the pandemic.
“Electricity is an essential need lalo na ngayong may pandemya. Hindi siguro kalabisan na humiling pa ng makatwirang palugit. Bago ang lahat, kapakanan muna ng ating mga kababayan ang pangunahin na mas dapat inuuna, bago ang kita,” the senator said.
She also advised the power firm to work with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and explore the possibility of extending its debt restructuring program, which offers flexible or staggered payment options for consumers who are having difficulties paying their monthly power bills so that they could avoid disconnection.
“Siguro naman, hindi hamak na may kapasidad ang MERALCO, ang mga power suppliers at kanilang mga bangko na i-manage ang problema sa utang kumpara sa pinapasan ng mga consumers ngayon,” she said.
“Accommodating this installment-based payment scheme will also ensure that more Filipinos will not get disconnected and will remain as MERALCO’s customers, which will be beneficial in the long run,” she added.
MANILA, Philippines — Power distributor Meralco announced on Wednesday (September 15) that electricity rates this month of September have slightly increased due to higher generation charges.
Meralco said this month’s rates will increase by P0.11 per kilowatt-hour.
This is equivalent to a Php 21 increase in the total September bill of the majority of homes consuming 200 kWh.
Meralco made the announcement of the power rate increase despite a previous appeal from the House of Representatives to waive such additional charges as it would add yet another burden to consumers given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parts of the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite have experienced power outages due to the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm ‘Jolina’, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Wednesday said.
In an advisory, Meralco said the outages occurred in the southern part of its franchise.
“As of 12 noon, the weather disturbance still affected around 270,000 customers. Majority of these are from the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite,” said Joe Zaldarriaga, vice president for Meralco Corporate Communications.
Meralco also reported that around 500,000 of its customers were affected by an earlier automatic load dropping (ALD) when 730MW of capacity from San Lorenzo, San Gabriel, and Avion natural gas power plants were isolated due to the tripping of NGCP’s Batangas-Makban line.
“The power interruption lasted for 11 minutes and all affected circuits were restored by 11:10am,” the power distributor said.
Zaldarriaga assured that their crews will continue to work 24/7 to immediately restore power in affected areas.
MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Tuesday announced that it will suspend disconnection activities in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until September 7.
“In light of the government’s announcement on Saturday morning extending the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) placed on the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Lucena City in Quezon from September 1 to 7, 2021, Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) will likewise suspend disconnection activities in these areas until September 7, 2021,” Meralco said in an advisory.
The electric company also encouraged its customers to reach out, so they can discuss and help clarify their concerns, and even come up with payment terms, if really needed. It assured that it will remain considerate and will assist customers with their concerns.
Customers may reach out to Meralco through its website at www.MERALCO.com.ph, its official social media accounts and the Meralco hotline at 16211. Customers may also send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, Meralco also assured that it will continue vital operations such as meter reading, bill delivery, and service crews will continue to work around the clock to serve its customers. AAC
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