Water, power firms give customers 30-day extension on payment of bills
MANILA, Philippines — Water and electricity firms are giving consumers a month’s reprieve in the payment of charges that fall due during the enhanced community quarantine period.
Manila Water Co. Inc. said in a statement it was extending the due date of payment of customers’ water bills for 30 days.
“The welfare of our customers is our primary concern as we all work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Manila Water president and chief executive Rene Almendras said.
“Our concern is for them not to go out and risk infection just to pay. We encourage them to follow the President’s call to stay home,” Almendras added.
According to him, there were payment options available that do not require people to leave their homes. These include settling the bills through online banking as well as GCash or PayMaya.
The Ayala group subsidiary also gave the assurance that there was “adequate and continuous water supply for all customers, except during emergency repairs and necessary maintenance activities.”
For its part, Maynilad Water Services Inc., aside from the 30-day payment extension, is suspending the disconnection of overdue accounts until April 14.
“[This is] is in addition to the normal 60-day grace period before the customer receives a disconnection notice [for unpaid bills],” Maynilad said in an advisory.
It also suggested that customers settle their bills through online channels.
“This is to ensure that all customers will have water to use, especially in activities that are critical to maintaining health and sanitation,” it said.
Likewise, Meralco extended by 30 days the settlement of bills due on March 1 to April 14, adding that maintenance activities were also suspended during the quarantine period, “unless necessary.”
Further, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines is implementing a 30-day deferment program for the payment of transmission charges.
“The billing period of Jan. 26 to Feb. 25 [for which payments are] due on March 25 will be subject to deferment,” NGCP said.
The Department of Energy (DOE) called for the cooperation of all government agencies and local government units to ensure the unimpeded delivery of energy services during quarantine, noting that item No. 5 of the Inter-Agency Task Force guidelines identifies power and energy as basic needs, “which are allowed to be transported.”
The DOE was referring to fuels — liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, biofuels, biomass, coal, natural gas — as well as resources related to electricity services.
“We need these energy products and services in our fight against Covid-19,” said the DOE. “Energy provides the much-needed services required by our food, communication, and medical industries.”
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