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Extension of grace period for electric bill payments urged

BAYAN Muna and the Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente (MSK) on Thursday urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and Meralco to extend the grace period for consumers who have not yet paid for their electric bills.

Hirap na hirap na ang mga consumers sa taas ng mga bilihin at kawalan ng trabaho. ‘Wag na muna sanang dagdagan pa ng Meralco ang pabigat na ito. Sana ay iextend ng ERC at Meralco ang grace period ng di pagbabayad lalo pa at iniimbestigahan pa kung tama nga ba ang kanilang sinisingil nitong panahon ng pandemya at hindi sila nag-over charge,” said Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares.

Meralco should also stop projecting that it did not and will not pass on to consumers charges that they or their partners incurred. We should not forget in 2013 during the Malampaya shutdown when Meralco tried to pass on to consumers an unprecedented power rate hike then at P4.15 per kwh, it is good that the Supreme Court issued a TRO against this. We should also not forget that just last year the Supreme Court also ruled against the seven sweetheart deals of Meralco with its sister generation companies that would have tied us to extremely high power rates for at least 20 years,” said the Bayan Muna chairman.

David Celestra Tan, co-convenor of MSK, said,”At this stage, we have discovered instances of Meralco suspicious practices of consumer overcharging. We are not just complaining. We have probable cause so to speak.

If Meralco is not doing anything that amounts to overcharging the consumers they should be open to providing the truth. Instead they evade the questions with non-answers, hide under the skirt of ERC’s approval implying that the ERC is the one to answer, and to accuse cause oriented and consumer groups who are looking after the public interest, of fake news, misinformation, and other agenda, MSK said.

As we stated in our complaint to ERC, there is a need to see the true breakdown of Meralco’s sales in amount and kwh quantities to each customer class. This has impact on the true average income of Meralco which is supposed to be P1.38 per kwh. From the Meralco audited financial statements and annual reports this average compute to P2.05 per kwh, a 40% overrecovery,” MSK added.