Over 2 million Meralco customers hit by power outages amid Ulysses onslaught
Robie de Guzman • November 12, 2020 • 394
MANILA, Philippines – Millions of customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) have been experiencing power interruptions due to the effects of Typhoon Ulysses, the power distributor said.
In a post on social media, Meralco said 2.2 million households in its franchise area have been hit by power outages.
“As of 12 noon, 2.2M households or 31% pa din po ang walang kuryente,” Meralco said.
In an earlier post, the power distributor said areas heavily affected were Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon Province, Caloocan, Quezon City, Marikina, Muntinlupa and Makati.
The power distributor assured it has deployed teams to assess and repair power circuits that have sustained damages due to strong winds and heavy rains brought about by the typhoon.
It said it is exerting all efforts to restore power soonest despite the current constraints.
“Ang lahat ng aming mga crew ay naka-deploy 24 x 7. Sa ngayon inuuna nila ang pag patrolya at pag-ayos ng mga circuits na walang power para maging sistematiko ang pagbabalik ng kuryente mula sa mga main lines, lateral lines, mga critical facilities (hospitals, mga sangay ng gobyerno na tumutulong sa mga nasalanta) hanggang sa inyong mga kabahayan,” it said.
However, the utility firm said that power restoration efforts in areas that are heavily flooded would have to wait so as not to endanger the lives of their linemen.
It also advised affected customers to turn off the main switch of their circuit breaker for their safety.
“Sa mga lugar na baha, di rin kami maka-pasok sa inyong lugar. Hintayin po nating bumaba ang baha,” it said.
“Iniiwasan naming magkaroon ng aksidente dulot ng baha na pwedeng makakuryente sa mga linemen. Sinsiguro namin na ginagawa po namin ang lahat para magka-ilaw sa lalong madaling panahon,” it added.
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has reminded its customers that the deadline for paying outstanding bills is on January 31.
Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said the electric company already provided sufficient time since its disconnection policy was temporarily suspended to help customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Zaldarriaga said customers can still appeal for an extension through Meralco’s business centers.
He added that they are mulling over the recommended extension of the installment scheme in paying power bills.
“We’ve already given iyong ample time. One year na ang—almost one year na magmula noong we stopped disconnecting since March and although, pinag-aaralan pa rin naman natin and on a case-to-case basis ay humahanap tayo ng paraan para tulungan iyong iba pang customers (We’ve already given ample time. Almost one year since we stopped disconnecting since March. Although we are still looking into ways to assist other customers on a case-to-case basis),“ he said.
Zaldarriaga also reiterated the importance of paying on time in order for the electric company to continue its operation and provide service to its customers. —AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr)
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.
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