Solon tells Meralco: Be transparent, conduct actual reading
MANILA, Philippines—Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco said the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) “has a lot of explaining to do” after a string of bill charges that surged way past the norms of households during the lockdown.
During Friday’s hearing of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission, Meralco was asked to explain the increase in electricity charges and the “convenience fee” it has placed on its customers.
Velasco, who is co-chair with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, also asked Meralco to charge its customers based on their actual power consumption after the growing complaints on the massive spike in electricity bills.
“We want Meralco to be transparent in their charges to conduct actual meter readings so that we can be assured that there is accurate basis for the electricity bill that must be paid by their customers,” said Velasco in a statement.
“Talagang nagulat ang mga consumers nung makita nila kung gaano kalaki ang bill nila. Mahirap na nga ang buhay, nagka-COVID pa, tapos may malaki pa silang babayarang kuryente.”
(The customers were really surprised when they saw how expensive their bill is. Life’s hard, we have the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they will pay for a really high electricity bill.)
Velasco even presented a sample electricity bill from Meralco that jumped to P30,000 even though the said household averaged P10,000 in charges for two months prior to the pandemic that forced people to stay within their houses.
Meralco representatives in the hearing said that their electricity billing was based on actual consumption from the current meter reading and “estimated consumption” in March and April when billings were deferred due to the lockdown.
The power company, however, admitted that it only managed to cover one percent of its customers for the month of April.
Velasco meanwhile, requested Meralco to defer disconnection should they fail to pay their electricity bills incurred during the enhanced community quarantine and make the necessary adjustments to the electrical bills based on actual consumption.
“This is the only way Meralco can provide a credible basis for the charges,” said Velasco.
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