Meralco waives P47 convenience fee for online bill payments until end of GCQ
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is extending the waiver of the P47-convenience fee paid by consumers who choose to make electric bill payments through the company’s online platform until the general community quarantine (GCQ) is lifted.
Meralco chief executive officer and president Ray Espinosa made the announcement during a Senate energy committee hearing on Monday.
“We will extend the waiver of the convenience fee for the entire duration of the GCQ, until GCQ is terminated. We will spare the consumer the cost of the convenience fee,” Espinosa said.
This, after several senators appealed to the power distributor to waive the convenience fee to encourage consumers to pay their bills at home.
“We want to make it convenient for our consumers, especially this time around kahit GCQ. And we want to make sure that our consumers will not be put at risk when they go out to pay their bills,” committee chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.
“For me, the P47 is a disincentive. Lalabas na lang ako kaysa magbayad ng P47,” he pointed out.
In May, Meralco waived the convenience fee but restarted its recollection with the transition of many areas into the less stringent GCQ in June.
Espinosa initially explained to senators that Meralco “is not in a position” to request PayMaya, which offers third-way gateway platform services, to waive the convenience fees “because they are a cost that they charged to us.”
“Let me point out that whenever Meralco waives these so-called fees, these are actually costs being absorbed by Meralco and given that they will be part of the operating cost they will actually be charged eventually to all Meralco customers,” he said.
But he assured that there is “no intention” to pass on another third-party fee to customers.
“It will be absorbed by us,” Espinosa added.
The Meralco official further said that the company’s online app, Meralco Online, is not the only channel where consumers can pay their bills remotely.
“When it comes to online payment of bills, the Meralco app is not the way by which you can pay your bills online, If you have a bank—as most of those who pay using the Meralco online app—they have bank accounts,” he said.
“All of these banks actually have their own online banking platform if you pay from your own banks there is no fee being charged by these banks,” Espinosa added.
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