No power disconnection till yearend

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    Distribution utilities(DUs) have been ordered not to disconnect until the end of the year power lines of customers who fail to settle their bills.

    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has issued the official advisory yesterday.

    The relief will benefit customers who consume not more than 200 kilowatt hours per month.

    For all other customers, power distributors are ordered to implement a minimum of 30-day grace period on all payments falling due within the period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ without incurring any interests, penalties and other charges.

    Also, any unpaid balance after the lapse of the 30-day grace period will be allowed to be paid in three equal monthly instalments, also free from any interest charges.

    “Customers who have the ability to pay are encouraged 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. DUs may offer less onerous payment terms to encourage early payment,” the regulatory body said in the advisory.

    The Power for People Coalition (P4P) said while this relief is appreciated, the ERC should have instead issued a moratorium on payments.

    “For true reform in the energy sector, P4P demands that there be a moratorium on payments for the bill shock period until all bills during the ECQ period have been examined for fairness, a more flexible payment scheme applied for the bills, all pending refunds returned, reforms in Meralco (Manila Electric Co.) billing practices carried out and an independent audit of Meralco has been conducted,” said Gerry Arances, group convenor.