A solution for power bills problem

Published June 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

E CARTOON Apr 27, 2020Life in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon was thoroughly upset during the two months of strict Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), followed by two weeks of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), as all movement of people was held down to a minimum in an effort to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

One issue – power and electricity bills – turned out to be of such widespread concern that it reached Congress, which conducted hearings in the energy committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Due to the lockdown which kept everyone, including meter inspectors of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) indoors, Meralco, following advisories of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the proper computation of electricity bills, estimated each household’s bills based on its average daily consumption in December, 2019, January, 2020, and February, 2020 – deemed low-consumption months as they were in the middle of the cold season.
At a hearing in the House last Wednesday, ERC Director Rexie B. Digal said rates of the National Transmission Grid Corp. and of Meralco are all regulated and approved by the ERC. Consumers can be assured that they are paying only for what they consumed, she said.
Meralco President and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa told the House committee that Meralco has come up with an installment payment scheme that will ease the burden on consumers who were all confined to their homes during the lockdown.

During the lockdown period of March, April, and May, he said, customers were not required to pay their bills. These will now be spread out in four to six installments. This will give them more time and space to prepare and find means to settle their bills.

The two and a half months of quarantine, when life as we know it came to a stop, are over and we have now eased into a considerably less restricted General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Any problems we may have had, such as paying for power consumption at a time of no work and no income for so many, are now being met and solved with coordination and cooperation among officials of government and private enterprises like Meralco.