FALSE: Meralco, Maynilad waive March 2020 billings

FALSE: Meralco, Maynilad waive March 2020 billings
The two utility services companies are only offering an extension period for payments

Claim: Utility companies Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and Maynilad Water Services Inc are waiving their billings for March 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

A graphic posted on Facebook showed the logos of the two companies and a text at the bottom saying: “Good news!! March Bill libre na po munting regalo ng Maynilad at Meralco. (Fees for March are free – a little gift from Maynilad and Meralco.)

A reader sent the graphic to Rappler’s email for verification. Facebook’s monitoring tool, Claim Check, flagged at least 39 accounts and pages that posted the graphic. The earliest was shared on March 19.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The graphic did not come from the official channels of Meralco and Maynilad. The two utility services are only offering an extension for payments, not cancellation of fees. 

Due to the enhanced community quarantine, Meralco is offering a 30-day payment extension from the due date for all billings due from March 1 to April 14.

The electric power distribution company is also holding off all physical meter reading and bill deliveries, and will instead estimate the average consumption for the past 3 months of all customers with meters that were scheduled to be read from March 17 to April 14.

Likewise, Maynilad is also offering a 30-day payment extension from March 15 to April 14 as aid to all customers affected by the Luzon lockdown, as well as suspension of on-site meter reading and bill deliveries. On top of this, the water services company is suspending the disconnection of all overdue accounts until April 14. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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