Customers of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) may look forward to some relief, as the country’s largest power distribution firm indicated extending “payment leeways” on their electric bills.
No date has been announced yet, but MERALCO spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said that the utility giant will be very considerate to customers who were affected by Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses. Marikina City and Rizal were the most hit within the company’s franchise area.
He noted, though, that MERALCO’s priority at the moment is to restore power to 78,803 customers in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan and Pampanga who were severely affected.
Toppled poles, downed wires, damaged transformers and heavy flooding are among the factors that dictate the pace of restoration, Zaldarriaga said. Given these conditions, he added that it is important for them to watch over the safety of their linemen involved in restoration works.
The Energy Regulatory Commission in late October ordered power distribution firms including MERALCO to extend the payment deadline for regular customers or those consuming at least 201 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month for at least 30 days.
The extension is in light of the financial difficulties many customers have encountered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as recognized by Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
On the other hand, lifeline customers or those consuming a maximum of 200 kWh a month were also given until December 31 to settle their unpaid electricity dues.
Photo from MERALCO Facebook page.