power and water

Meralco extends no-disconnection period until January 31


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POWER. Linemen fix power lines along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

The extended grace period will benefit 47% of Meralco customers

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the Philippines’ biggest power distributor, is giving customers until January 31, 2021, to pay unsettled utility bills before their electricity lines are disconnected.

This development was confirmed by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday, December 20.

In a statement, Velasco cited a December 14 letter from Meralco president Ray Espinosa granting his request to extend the no-disconnection period after “careful evaluation.”

The extended grace period, Espinosa said, benefits more than 3 million customers consuming 200 kilowatts per hour and below in December, or 47% of Meralco customers.

Meralco earlier imposed a December 31, 2020 deadline for unpaid electricity bills, extending a previous deadline of September 30, 2020.

According to Velasco, the “good gesture” will “go a long way” for Filipinos whose lives were upended due to the coronavirus 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,” he said.

Meralco earlier figured in a controversy after a sudden spike in electricity bills during the height of the coronavirus crisis, prompting the House of Representatives to conduct hearings into the matter.

In October, the Energy Regulatory Commission also ordered power distributors to stop disconnecting households with low energy consumption until the end of 2020. – Rappler.com

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