Meralco's disconnection activities to resume in Metro Manila

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
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) will resume cutting unpaid power lines in Metro Manila as the capital region transitions to looser mobility restrictions.

The country’s largest power distributor is ending over a month of reprieve to customers in Metro Manila, which transitioned to less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 4 last September 16.

This means the delivery of disconnection notices for services with unpaid overdue bills will resume next week, Meralco said in a statement on Thursday. “The disconnection notices give customers enough time to settle their bills or to reach out for assistance,” the company added.

Meanwhile, disconnection activities will remain suspended in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), a tighter lockdown measure. The provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Lucena City in Quezon are under MECQ until the end of September.

At the same time, Meralco said it won’t cut unpaid power lines in areas that will be placed under granular lockdowns by their respective local government units.

“We encourage customers with billing concerns to reach out, so we can assist them and even come up with payment terms if needed,” Ferdinand Geluz, company chief commercial officer, said.

“We will continue be very considerate of the challenges our customers are facing amid these difficult times,” Geluz added.

It has been a practice of power distributors to suspend disconnection activities whenever an area is placed under hard lockdowns, which tend to displace thousands of workers and disrupt businesses. Apart from a disconnection moratorium, Meralco is also offering installment payment terms ranging from four to six months to customers who are falling behind their bills.

But the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB), in an advisory issued last year, encouraged customers who can settle their bills in time to do so to help manage the cash flow of power companies amid hard times.

For this month, Meralco’s overall electricity rate for a typical household inched up by P0.1055 per kWh to P9.1091 per kWh, translating to a P21 increase in the total bill of a typical residential customer consuming 200 kWh.

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