Power firms ordered to issue new bills, conduct actual meter reading
MANILA, Philippines – The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered power distribution companies to give customers new bills that reflect actual consumption instead of basing it on average consumption.
In an advisory on Friday, May 22, the ERC said power firms must conduct actual meter readings not later than June 8.
Companies like the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) charged customers during March and April using average consumption during December to February, as meter reading was suspended due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Bills for May were based on actual meter readings but likely caused bill shocks experienced by customers, according to an earlier statement by Meralco. (READ: Makabayan lawmakers seek probe into sudden spike in Meralco bills)
The ERC also ordered power distributors to implement a staggered 6-month payment scheme for bills covered in the ECQ period. It should also be implemented without penalties and interest.
For customers consuming 200 kilowatts per hour or less monthly, the ERC said these households must be given a 4-month payment scheme.
Monthly amortizations must be made not earlier than June 15 for all types of consumers.
Subsequent installments will be due every 15th of the month starting July until fully paid.
In a statement, Meralco said it would comply with the ERC orders.
Meralco earlier said it would waive the P47 convenience fee for customers opting to pay using its online platforms. This was after its customers complained about it, and after the Department of Energency ordered it to explain why it needed to charge the fee. – Rappler.com