83 electric coops commit to extend payment period for customers

Published March 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

At least 83 electric cooperatives (ECs) have positively responded to the directive of the
National Electrification Administration (NEA) for them to grant 30-day payment extension for the electric bills of their customers.

The electrification agency said that is based on its monitoring as of March 25 (Wednesday). The ECs basically took their cue from the deferred payment arrangements that their counterpart-private distribution utilities – including power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) – had already resorted to.

Relative to the mandate on extended payment for the EC customers, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong earlier is¬sued Memorandum No. 2020-011, which essentially endorsed an advisory of the Department of Energy (DOE) on stretching the payment arrangement on billings of power companies.

“Implementing a 30-day payment extension to electricity con¬sumers will help ease their financial burden, especially those impacted by the enhanced community quarantines due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Masongsong said.

The bills to be covered are those falling due from March 15 to April 14, 2020, a span which is parallel to the government-enforced community quarantine to contain the spread of the lethal novel corona¬virus (Covid-19).

The NEA chief further noted that “while a significant number of electric cooperatives already complied with the directive – most are in Luzon and Visayas – other power co-ops simply released public announcements on the waiver of surcharges for late payments and suspension of disconnection activities.”

The agency expounded that the bill payment extension is “in line with the government’s declaration of a state of calamity throughout the country for six months, and the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine over the entire island of Luzon due to the continuing spread of COVID-19.”

Parallel to that order, NEA Deputy Administrator for Legal Services Atty Rossan Rosero-Lee similarly announced that all ECs and litigants are given “a 30-day extension to file their petitions and appeals, complaints, motions, pleadings and other submissions to the Administrative Committee (of NEA).” That shall cover filings due from March 15 to April 15 this year.