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Instead of extending bill deadline, Meralco should waive entire March bill — Colmenares

/ 12:11 AM March 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Electric Corporation (Meralco) should fully waive the March bill of its customers instead of just merely extending the bill’s deadline, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said on Thursday.

Colmenares explained that Meralco can waive the March bill by refunding customers through the supposed P29.6 billion overrecovery of annual distribution charges, which stemmed from a reported lower energy sales in contrast to growing Meralco earnings from 2013 to 2018.

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“It would be better if these utilities especially Meralco to altogether waive their collections for this month. Besides Meralco has to refund  P29.6 Billion for overrecovery of allowed annual distribution charges to consumers from 2013 to 2018,” he said, after welcoming the company’s move to extend the bills.

Meralco last Monday decided to extend the bills as consumers cannot flock to payment centers due to the enhanced community quarantine placed by President Rodrigo Duterte over the entire Luzon.

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READ: Meralco extends deadline for payment of bills for 30 days

Due to this order, people — except for frontline service workers — were disallowed from going outside to work, therefore closing businesses.

As of Thursday, the Department of Health said that there are 217 confirmed cases in the Philippines, 17 of which have already died.  At least seven have recovered, while there are six patients who were allowed to go on a home quarantine mode.

READ: Luzon now under ‘enhanced community quarantine’ – Palace

READ: BREAKING: Total of COVID-19 cases in PH now at 217

Colmenares said that Congress should probe this issue and check on Meralco’s overrecovery.

“With the P50 billion anomaly exposed by former ERC Com. Alfredo Non and this P29.6 billion overrecovery of Meralco it can be seen that this monopoly in the power sector has so much anomalies to the disadvantage of consumers and they can surely afford to waive a month’s bill collection for Luzon,” he said.

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“Congress should also probe this issue and ensure that this would never happen again. Meralco has been involved in many questionable acts like the unjust power rate hike in 2013 during the Malampaya shutdown and the midnight deals on 7 power supply agreements (PSAs) that an investigation should be in order,” he added.

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, Bayan Muna, COVID-19, enhanced community quarantine, lockdown, Luzon, Manila Electric Corporation, MERALCO, National Capital Region, nCoV update, Neri Colmenares, Philippine news updates, President Rodrigo Duterte
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