The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Thursday that they could offer a disconnection exemption for customers, but on a case to case basis.
Meralco spokesperson Zoe Zaldarriaga said consumers who are having a hard time paying their bills could go to their business centers.
“Pumunta sila sa ating mga business center kasi hindi naman din puwede na balewalain lang kapag nakatanggap sila ng disconnection notice dahil, malamang sa hindi, talagang magkaroon ng disconnection,” he said.
“Ang magandang gawin nila, tumungo sa ating business center at makipag-usap sa amin. At kami naman ay hahanap ng solusyon paano kami makatulong kung talagang may difficulty magbayad,” he added.
Meralco’s no disconnection policy, which was implemented when the pandemic started, will be until January 31. Zaldarriaga added they have no general policy on exempting customers from disconnection.
“Wala na po tayong general policy unlike in the past pero ang ginagawa natin is on a case-to-case basis,” he said.
“As I mentioned, hindi naman namin priority ang magputol o mag-disconnect. Ang ginagawa namin ngayon, naghahanap kami ng solusyon sa problema ng consumers na may difficulty magbayad,” he added.
Disconnection exemption case to case basis – Meralco spox
On Tuesday, Meralco said it will study the possibility of extending the installment payment scheme for consumers’ electricity bills as the pandemic continues.
But Meralco admitted that they are also struggling because they have been covering for the electricity consumed since March 2020, when quarantine began in the country.
“Kung hindi po mase-settle. Although hindi naman magpuputol [agad] kasi mayroon namang notice ‘yan eh,” said Zaldarriaga on TeleRadyo.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Senator Risa Hontiveros called for the extension of Meralco’s installment payment scheme.
“Hindi maganda na ngayong 2021, maliban sa COVID-19 ay magkaroon din ng epidemiya ng tanggalan ng kuryente sa ating bansa. Mas mahihirapan umahon ang bansa mula sa pandemya at sa bagsak na ekonomiya kung mas maraming Pilipino ang mapuputulan ng kuryente sa kanilang mga kabahayan dahil sa mga polisiya ng Meralco,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, the Energy Regulatory Commission leaves it to the distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to implement the “no disconnection policy” because distributors must also support the cooperative.