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MWSS asks water firms to explain high bills as consumers complain

/ 11:13 PM July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. have to explain within the week the high water bills that over 400 customers have been complaining about since June, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Services – Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The MWSS-RO issued a Notice to Explain to the two water concessionaires over “the alarming number of complaints escalated to the agency by their customers,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said.

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According to Ty, the complaints centered on a surge in both companies’ pricing of water services — which should have not happened as MWSS-RO supposedly installed measures to avoid “bill shock” after billings for the months of March and April were foregone temporarily due to the COVID-19 lockdown imposed on Metro Manila.

The lockdown prompted utility firms to refrain from dispatching personnel to read consumption meters. Instead, the firm resorted estimates of the average consumption of each customer.

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“As evidenced by the surge of billing complaints monitored and investigated by the agency, both Concessionaires have been ordered to explain their noncompliance,” Ty said.

Last May, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) found itself in hot water as consumers posted on social media photos of absurdly high electric bills — leading a group to question whether the company was taking advantage of the quarantine.

One source told INQUIRER.net that her house in Quezon City was billed for over P1,000 even if he had been staying at his mother’s place during the lockdown.

Meralco refuted some of the social media posts, saying that the photos had been altered. But it vowed to check meters properly once they could resume operations.

/atm

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, high water bills, Manila Water, Maynilad Water, Metro Manila GCQ, MWSS, Notice to Explain
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