By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will be ordering anew distribution utilities (DUs) and retail electricity suppliers (RES) to further suspend the payment of electricity bills in areas under the modified, enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera declared this during the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship’s hearing on Thursday, May 21.
Devanadera said this would be in consideration of the “no work, no pay” workers and their families who continue to be affected by the lockdown rules.
“We are issuing another [advisory] to cover the MECQ because when we compare the ECQ and MECQ, actually [these] have very little difference. Under both situations, there have no access to public transportation so to our mind, the daily-wage earners, the informal sector, still are not able to be gainfully employed,” Devanadera explained.
The ERC earlier directed the amortization of payments in four equal monthly installments, to be paid in four succeeding months after the ECQ was lifted.
In the new advisory, Devanadera said the payment of the electricity bills will remain staggered and payable for an extended period of six months.
Also this time, the beneficiaries would be households consuming 200 kilowatts-per-hour per month.
“Because we think these are those who have no air-con[ditioners], they have only basic eletrical equipment. We can call them the lifeliners…the lower sector of the electric consumers,” the ERC official said.
Devanadera said they will also be asking DUs to relax the guaranteed minimum billing demand for industrial and commercial power consumers.
“As we know there are no businesses open,” she said.