Meralco suspends disconnection activities in ECQ, MECQ areas

Meralco linemen upgrade the electrical post and wiring along Fabella Road at Barangay Addition hills in Mandaluyong City on April 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) won’t cut unpaid power lines in areas under hard lockdown to help affected customers weather the economic fallout from fresh restrictions.

In a statement on Tuesday, the country’s largest power distributor said it would suspend disconnection activities in the province of Laguna from August 1 to 15 and the National Capital Region from August 6 to 20.

The suspension period covers the imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and modified ECQ (MECQ) in Laguna. The Philippines is seeing a renewed surge in infections that is believed to be fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus, prompting authorities to re-impose stricter curbs to prevent a deadly spike in cases.

But despite the return to harsher lockdowns, Meralco said its business operations, including meter reading and bill delivery activities, will continue.

“Given the current situation, we continue to take into consideration the challenges our customers are facing amid these difficult times, Ferdinand Geluz, company chief commercial officer, said.

For areas under the less strict general community quarantine (GCQ), Meralco said that while disconnection activities won’t be suspended there, the company “will continue to be very considerate during this period and vowed to assist customers with their concerns.”

“We encourage customers, particularly those with concerns with their previous bills, to reach out, so we can discuss and help clarify their concerns and to even come up with payment terms, if really needed,” Geluz said.

Energy regulators earlier encouraged customers who can pay to settle their bills within the original due date “to help manage the cash flow in the energy supply chain and ensure the continuous supply of electricity."

In the first half, Meralco reported a consolidated net income of P9.9 billion, up from P6.8 billion posted in the same period last year.

Meralco said it continued to help customers who are falling behind their bills by offering installment payment terms ranging from four to six months. As of end-June, the company reported that remaining balance from installment arrangements amounted to P2.9 billion. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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