Electric cooperatives extend payment period

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — State-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) said 83 electric cooperatives have already announced a 30-day extension for electricity consumers to settle their power bills amid the ongoing public health crisis in the country.

The ECs responded after the Department of Energy (DOE) called for “solidarity” by deferring payments of obligations and dues among all stakeholders in the power sector for the benefit of consumers and after the agency released an advisory to all 121 power coops last week.

NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the 30-day payment extension would help ease consumers’  financial burden, especially those impacted by the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“My appeal to the electric cooperatives is to comply with the advisories of both the Department of Energy and the NEA since they also get reprieve from paying their obligations to their power suppliers,” Masongsong said.

NEA, however, echoed the position adopted by most power coops that customers who prefer to settle their bills on time may still do so by paying through electronic means, if available, for the sake of social distancing and other precautionary measures that need to be observed.

Masongsong also welcomed the steps taken by ECs  to protect their employees, especially the line workers who need to work on the field to ensure that power distribution services will not be disrupted.

These include the adoption of work-from-home arrangements, shortened work hours, or establishment of skeletal staff for people who work in the offices, as well as the production of improvised face masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment for those who work in the field.

Masongsong directed all ECs to ensure continuous electricity services to consumers in their respective franchise areas, particularly to critical loads such as hospitals and medical facilities, government offices, and other basic utility service providers.

These moves are in line with the declaration of a state of calamity by the national government throughout the country for a period of six months, and the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine over the entire island of Luzon due to COVID-19.




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