Meralco will study the possibility of extending the installment payment scheme for consumers’ electricity bills as the pandemic continues.
On Teleradyo, Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said they will look at the recommendation of Sen. Risa Hontiveros to extend the installment payment scheme to prevent cuts while the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic still exists.
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.
Meralco still has an extension until the end of January for households consuming 200 kilowatts per hour and below. These were unpaid bills during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ.
“Kung hindi po mase-settle. Although hindi naman magpuputol [agad] kasi mayroon namang notice ‘yan eh,” said Zaldarriaga.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco himself asked Meralco to further push its no-disconnection policy in light of the “bayanihan” spirit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The extended grace period being given to our fellow Filipinos during the holiday season will provide much needed reprieve to those reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic and natural calamities,” Velasco said.
Meralco studies extending installment period on electric bills
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.
Some consumers also have the ability to pay.
“Kung ang inaasahan ng ating mga mamamayan ay mag-uutos ang ERC tungkol sa no disconnection policy, ipinapaubaya na namin ito sa mga distribution utilities,” said ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera.
“Kailangan din namang ma-sustain ng ating distribution utilities at saka electric cooperatives ‘yun namang kanilang pagsusuplay ng kuryente,” she added.
In a statement released on Tuesday, 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.