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Gatchalian: Meralco to face scrutiny over ‘confusing’ high electricity bills

/ 09:13 AM May 19, 2020
Senator Win Gatchalian

ABS-CBN franchise on the table: Senator Win Gatchalian, vice-chair of the Committee on Public Services, presides on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, over the preliminary hearing on measures relating to the grant of franchise to television giant ABS-CBN, whether provisional or for another 25 years. Gatchalian stressed that in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, all news entities are needed in the dissemination of information to combat the corona virus. (Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s primary watchdog in the power sector will “dig deeper” into Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) “confusing” electricity bill following complaints of alleged high electricity rates amid the government-imposed quarantine, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.

In a statement on Tuesday, Gatchalian said his office has received numerous complaints from many consumers on their high electricity rates amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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“Many of us are left wondering how Meralco has come up with such high charges especially during this time of the pandemic when many of us are facing mounting expenses and loss of livelihood,” the senator, chair of the Senate committee on energy, said.

“The problem lies with Meralco’s confusing electricity bill. Meralco has failed to provide Filipinos a clearer and justified explanation on why bills have gone up so high,” he added.

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Gatchalian said his office has started initial inquiries on whether or not Meralco “has taken advantage of the current pandemic situation to the detriment of the Filipino consumers.”

“We will also dig deeper into the electricity bill shock issue during the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) hearing this coming Friday on the effects of COVID-19 in the power sector,” he added.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has already ordered Meralco to explain how it billed its customers, mostly households, for power used during quarantine.

Meralco, meanwhile, said it was ready to field all questions, adding that it had been “transparent from the start and communicated the same to consumers.”

JPV

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TAGS: COVID-19, Electricity, MERALCO, Nation, news, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
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