Meralco suspends disconnection to customers with unpaid bills

Published August 3, 2021, 3:01 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The State’s re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) because of the surging Delta variant-induced coronavirus infections will also mean going back to the old routine for power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on suspending ‘electricity service disconnections’ to customers with still-unpaid bills.

Meralco made this announcement ahead of the re-enforcement of strict lockdown in the capital which will start on August 6 and will hopefully wind down by August 20 – with this being a measure seen by the government to stem further spread of Covid-19 cases in the country.

“Meralco is again suspending disconnection activities in the province of Laguna beginning August 1-15 and the National Capital Region (NCR) from August 6-20, 2021,” the power firm has stated in its advisory to the media.

It explained that the break in disconnection activities in Laguna came earlier because modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), or the second most rigid degree of lockdown measure, had already been mandated there at the start of the month.

The other service areas of Meralco – including those in Bulacan, Rizal, Batangas, Cavite and some parts of Quezon, had been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions, hence, they are not included in the disconnection-suspension policy.

According to Ferdinand O. Geluz, first vice president and chief commercial officer of Meralco, the company is “taking into consideration the challenges our customers are facing amid these difficult times.”

He, thus, reiterated that “we will again suspend all disconnection activities in NCR and Laguna to help ease the burden of our customers with the needed relief and additional time to settle their bills.”

Geluz further apprised Meralco customers – particularly those with concerns on their previous bills “to reach out, so we can discuss and help clarify their concerns and to even come up with payment terms, if really needed.”

He noted the company “has several platforms (including social media accounts) by which you can reach us,” with him asserting that “we hope customers will take advantage of this period to avoid the inconvenience of having to queue long lines once the ECQ is again lifted.”

And since the halt in disconnection activities will not cover those in the GCQ-classified areas, Geluz emphasized that Meralco will still “continue to be very considerate during this period”, as he vowed that they will be there to assist their customers.

On the meter reading facet of the utility firm’s operations, Geluz indicated that this will carry on – so its customers will only pay the actual electricity that they consumed; and that is also in compliance to the mandate of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Meralco business operations, including meter reading and bill delivery activities, will continue throughout the ECQ,” Geluz stressed.

The Meralco executive further said “our continued operations will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly,” as he also guaranteed that their personnel to be deployed will adhere to the strict health protocols being enforced by the government. ###