Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to direct other distribution utilities (DUs) to replicate the move taken by Meralco which decided to suspend all disconnection activities within its franchise area that are placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified Community Quarantine.
The Senate Energy Committee Chairperson likewise renewed his call on the concerned authorities, particularly the local government units (LGU), to allow the continued conduct of onsite meter readings to ensure the accuracy of consumers’ electric bills. Meralco has said it will continue meter reading and bill delivery activities.
“We don’t want a repeat of last year’s ‘bill shock.’ We’ve had enough of this in the past and both the consumers and the DUs should have learned from what happened. If consumers will be billed appropriately, then they would not have any reason why they should not settle their obligation on a later date,” Gatchalian said.
Citing humanitarian considerations to consumers, Meralco has announced it will suspend all disconnection activities in Metro Manila and Laguna which are both placed under ECQ. The coverage of Meralco’s “no service disconnection” policy has been extended to at least three provinces that are under MECQ – Cavite, Rizal, and Lucena in Quezon province.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang hirap sa buhay. Anumang dagdag palugit sa kanilang mga naipong bayarin ay malaking kaginhawaan lalo na’t inaasahang maraming manggagawa ang mawawalan ng trabaho sa ilalim ng ECQ,” Gatchalian said.
The national government’s pandemic task force has just included Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro City in the list of areas under ECQ from August 6 to 15 while a number of key provinces are also subject to heightened restrictions until the end of the month due to the rising number of the Delta variant cases of COVID-19.
“Nagawa nang ipatupad ang ‘no disconnection policy’ noong isang taon at napalawig pa ito hanggang nitong mga unang buwan ng taong kasalukuyan. Napakalaking pakinabang nito sa mga kunsyumer na gipit sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin. Sana sa ikalawang pagkakataon ay pairaling muli ng iba pang distribution utilities ang konsiderasyon sa ating mga kababayan,” Gatchalian said.