ERC warns DUs on violating “payment installment” mandate

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) warned the distribution utilities that they will be fined and penalized if they will violate the implementation of payment installments for bills covering the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

“DUs that will be found and proven to have breached our directives during the national emergency and deviated from the intent of the President to alleviate the financial difficulties of the Filipino people during the crisis will be penalized through the imposition of appropriate fines pursuant to relevant rules and laws,” ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera was quoted in a report.

Last week, the ERC issued a mandate ordering DUs to allow installment payments for four months for end-users with consumption of 201 kilowatt-hours (kWhs) and higher. Meanwhile, those who consume 200 kWh and below can pay their bills for six months.

The DUs covered by this directive are Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Visayan Electric Company (VECO), and First Laguna Electric Cooperative Inc. (FLECO).

Other privately owned DUs and electric cooperatives’ installments will be for four equal monthly installments from June to September this year.

The ERC earlier issued the warning on non-compliance to the DUs and ECsprimarily addressed to the Philippine Electric Plant Owners Association Inc. (PEPOA); Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA); and the National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives Inc. (NAGMEC).

“We are noting down and keeping records of all the complaints and keeping records of all the complaints that we have received against DUs’ alleged high billings during the ECQ,” Devanadera stressed.

“We are sternly warning them that we will not have second thoughts to penalize those DUs who have been remiss or defiant of our orders,” she added.