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Now Reading: ELECTRICITY BILLING | ERC orders distributors to issue new billing, suspends universal charge
ELECTRICITY BILLING | ERC orders distributors to issue new billing, suspends universal charge
May 22, 2020 , 02:57 PM

May 22, 2020 – The energy regulator has ordered the country’s largest power distributor to issue new electricity billings based on actual meter reading, suspending earlier collection of payments for billings questioned by consumers.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to issue new billings no later than June 8 to reflect actual consumption based on the latest meter reading.

The ERC advisory was in response to numerous complaints from consumers who reported the bills charged for the month of May were significantly higher than usual.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga told an earlier interview with News5 the meter reading was put on hold during the lockdown period in March and April, and the bills were then based on the average consumption in the preceding three months.

“Ang nangyari ngayon, dahil hindi nga nabasa yung March at April, ‘yung dapat konsumo doon na nabasa ng metro napunta lahat sa Mayo,” Zaldarriaga said.

He said that aside from the usual hot weather, the lockdown also spurred consumers to consume more electricity due to more time spent at home.

Meralco has also waived the convenience fee charged for online payment during the lockdown.

The ERC also directed power distributors to suspend the collection of the Universal Charge-Environmental Charge (UC-EC), equivalent to P0.0025/kWh, until further notice.

STAGGERED PAYMENTS

Earlier, the regulatory body ordered that electricity bills for the months under quarantine may be settled through staggered payments of four to six months.

Customers with a monthly consumption of 200 kWh and below in February can settle their due through a staggered payment of six equal monthly installments. This will be effective for the bills falling within the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) periods.

While those who had a monthly consumption of above 200 kWh in February would be allowed to settle their due through a staggered payment of up to four equal monthly installments.

The ERC also noted the first monthly amortization would be made not earlier than June 15, without penalties and interest. The subsequent installments of the bills would be due every 15th of the month starting July onwards. In the meantime, electricity bills falling in June shall not be paid earlier than June 30.

(Katrina Elaine Alba/MM)

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