6-month staggered payment scheme eyed for ‘targeted’ consumers under MECQ — ERC
MANILA, Philippines — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will order a six-month staggered payment of electricity bills for “targeted” consumers under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), its chairperson told a Senate panel hearing on Thursday.
ERC chair Agnes Devanadera noted that the commission has earlier issued an advisory ordering electricity distributors to implement a staggered payment scheme amid the government-imposed enhance community quarantine (ECQ).
But the ERC will issue another advisory that would cover consumers in areas under the MECQ, she said.
The ECQ imposes a “strict home quarantine” for all households, the suspension of transportation, regulated provision for food and essential health services, and the “heightened presence” of police and soldiers to enforce the quarantine.
“We are issuing another one to cover the MECQ because when we compare the ECQ and MECQ actually are very little difference. Under both situations, there is no access to public transportation so in the mind of the commission, the daily wage earners, the informal sector, still are not able to be gainfully employed,” Devanadera said.
“Hence, in the advisory, we are issuing the four months will remain to be applicable to all as we have issued in our previous advisory. The change now in the MECQ is that we have targeted beneficiaries,” she added.
Households that consume only 200 kilowatt-hours monthly are identified as the “targeted” consumers, Devanadera noted.
“Because we think these are those who have no aircon. They have only basic electrical equipment… We can call them the lifeliners. Now we are extending the payment for six months but targeted po ito. Ito pong bago sa advisory namin will be the targeted, lower sector of the electric consumers,” she said.
“For those industrial or commercial, we are requesting our distribution utilities to relax the guaranteed minimum billing demand,” she added.