Meralco to consumers: Before paying, wait for new bill this May
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s biggest power retailer, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) told consumers on Wednesday not to settle their bills yet but wait for the upcoming bill that would be issued.
During a virtual hearing of the House energy committee, Meralco first vice president and head of Customer Retail Services Victor Genuino said that 65 percent of customers’ meters had been read.
“For the month of April, we were only able to read close to two percent of our customers’ bills,” Genuino said. “But for the month of May, with a couple of days to go still for the month to end, we have already read around 65 percent of our customers’ bills, of our customers’ meters.”
“Consumers must wait for the corrected bill,” Genuino later said.
This comes after many Meralco consumers complained of a “bill shock,” as the power retailer imposed an average scheme for electric bills based on three months of power usage since actual power reading was suspended due to the quarantine period imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Previously, Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldariagga said that bills covering March 1 to May 31 need not be paid immediately.
During the hearing, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief Agnes Devanadera explained the amortization scheme for unbilled power consumption.
She said consumers with a monthly consumption of 200 kilowatt-hours and below for the month of February this year could settle their bills incurred within the period of the enhanced community quarantine and the modified enhanced community quarantine in six equal monthly installments.
Meanwhile, those costumers with power consumption that is 200 killowatt-hour can settle their bills in four monthly installments, the ERC chair added.
The first amortization should not be made earlier than June 15.
“Hopefully by June 8, Meralco would have completed actual meter readings and thereafter send another bill with correct charges,” House Energy Committee chairman, Marinduque Lone District Rep. Lord Allan Velasco said in a statement.
“In this correct billing, Meralco will indicate that the customer’s meter had been read. Pending the delivery of accurate billing, consumers do not need to pay yet and Meralco assures that no disconnection of electricity will happen in case of unpaid billing during the enhanced community quarantine,” he added.
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