Following the government’s enforcement of more relaxed quarantine restrictions, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) announced that service disconnections will already resume for its customers that have unpaid bills.
The company said power service-cut off would be re-imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the ‘alert levels’ system of movement restrictions is currently on pilot testing.
“Disconnection activities in NCR will resume with the delivery of disconnection notices for services with unpaid overdue bills next week. The disconnection notices give customers enough time to settle their bills or to reach out for assistance,” the utility firm noted.
Meralco qualified that in other domains of its franchise area – primarily in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Lucena City in Quezon province, power disconnection services will remain suspended until September 30 because these jurisdictions would still be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month.
Service cut-off exemption will also be extended to customers whose residences are being placed under granular lockdown by local government units.
The country’s biggest power distribution company instituted ‘no disconnection policy’ starting August 6 this year when the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Metro Manila and other areas with high Covid-19 infections under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the strictest lockdown measure; and then followed by MECQ status until September 15.
Despite the resumption of service disconnections, however, Meralco assured its subscribers that it would still be very empathetic to the plight of those who are financially struggling – either due to job losses or income plunge.
Ferdinand O. Geluz, first vice president and chief commercial officer of Meralco, apprised their customers that if they can’t still fully pay their outstanding bills, the best recourse for them will be to communicate to the utility firm and make an arrangement in good faith as to the extent of leniency that they would need in settling arrears.
“We encourage customers with billing concerns to reach out, so we can assist them and even come up with payment terms if needed,” he conveyed, adding that Meralco “will continue to be very considerate of the challenges our customers are facing amid these difficult times.”
The utility firm specified their customers may reach them through various online platforms like Facebook and Twitter or via Meralco’s 16211 hotline.
And in cases when the customers would still need to go to Meralco Business Centers, it was advised that “they may book an online appointment through the Meralco website for a safe and hassle-free transaction.”