MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to soften the adverse effects of “bill shock,” customers of Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water Company were told they could pay the service providers in staggered amounts.
It was the government water service regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) which issued the statement informing the public that they could settle their water bills “in drops” or staggered basis.
The MWSS said it “encourages the public to contact their service provider and settle their statement of accounts (SOAs) in staggered amounts prior to the disconnection period in order to avoid accumulation of charges and bill shock, and to ensure continuity of services”.
The MWSS also said it has taken steps ensuring Maynilad and Manila Water will issue the correct water bills to their respective customers.
Previously, non-lifeline customers of both water service companies were given until August to settle all their bills, even those accumulated during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.
For lifeline accounts, or those with lower consumption, they have until September to pay.
MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty earlier said that “compassion” would be the key factor in all issues regarding payment of water service bills. He said the MWSS will not allow penalty to be imposed on those who will not be able to pay on time.
“If they still can’t afford to settle it, then they can go to the nearest business centers of Maynilad and Manila Water and ask for longer period and sign a promissory note,” Ty earlier said.
“We will be compassionate and understanding,” he added.
The meter reading and billing operations of Manila Water and Maynilad resume on Monday, June 1, the start of the downgraded general community quarantine in the metropolis.
“In order to ensure that customers only pay for their actual water consumption during the ECQ and modified ECQ (MECQ) periods, the MWSS RO has directed both concessionaires to reflect the actual water consumption and corresponding charges based on meter reading in the Statements of Account (SOAS) of customers,” MWSS-RO said in a statement on Friday.
Recently, consumers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) raised a howl when they were hit by “bill shock” from the electricity utility.
This prompted the House of Representatives to conduct a congressional inquiry on the doubling of Meralco bills. – Rappler.com