Meralco extends moratorium on disconnections until Sept.

No Meralco disconnections until Sept.

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on Thursday extended the moratorium  on service disconnections until September this year upon the request  of the House committee on energy to ease the burden of its consumers  following the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

During Thursday’s hearing, the panel chaired by Marinduque Rep. Lord  Allan Velasco said power consumers can breathe a sigh of relief at  least until September this year after Meralco agreed with their  proposal.

Meralco vice president and head of customer retail services and  corporations communications Victor Genuino assured that the country’s  largest distributor of utility will extend the moratorium in issuing  disconnection notices to enable its customers settle their unpaid  electricity bills incurred during the quarantine period.

At the prodding of Velasco to halt the issuance of any order to  disconnect the power supply of those who are unable to settle their  bills on time, Genuino promised to extend the ban on disconnection and  put notices on hold, which was previously set by Meralco until the end  of August.

“Can we request Meralco to extend the period guaranteeing that there  will be no disconnection to give people more time to recover and get  back on their feet as their work resumes and businesses reopen?” the  Marinduque lawmaker raised, to which the Meralco official answered in  affirmative.

At the continuation of the hearing into the alleged spike in the  electricity bills, particularly from Meralco, and the steps being  taken to address complaints, Velasco presented several grievances by  angry consumers ranging from overcharging, double charging, surge in  consumption versus the months prior to pandemic even when businesses  were closed during the quarantine or houses were unoccupied, payments  not credited properly, and delay in refunds, among others.

“These complaints bring additional stress to people. Meralco needs to  fix its systems and improve its customer service,” Velasco said, as he  reminded the power company of its commitment to its customers as a  public utility franchisee.

“Their performance should be able to erase any confusion or any in  doubt on Meralco whose franchise and services are imbued with public  interest,” the Marinduqe solon added. “And hopefully, at the end of  the day, ‘yung duty ng franchise ninyo talaga is to give better  service to the Filipino people.”

Velasco also said he empathizes with the consumers who feel that their  complaints are falling on deaf ears. “That’s why thru the committee ipinaparating nating ang concerns ng mga tao sa Meralco. Pakigandahan  ang customer service ninyo. Kung kinakailangang magdagdag kayo ng tao  para magawa ito. Maraming mga kababayan natin ngayon ang walang  trabaho, baka makatulong pa kayo habang ginagawa ninyo ang serbisyo  ninyo.”

Among those who attended the hearing were Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson Agnes Devanadera, Department of Energy Director Mario  Marasigan, and representatives from consumer groups and Meralco.