MERALCO, ERC cautioned vs. bill shock repeat


Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to conduct proper onsite electric meter reading during the re-imposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent another wave of bill shock complaints. 

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, called on local government units (LGUs) to allow MERALCO and ERC personnel to oversee onsite meter readings to ensure the accuracy of billing to customers. This is to avoid a repeat of last year’s electric bill spikes, which shocked and confused a vast majority of MERALCO customers.

Last March 26, the ERC called on LGUs to allow MERALCO’s meter readers to conduct actual meter reading. The commission also ordered the power giant to comply with prescribed health protocols. This includes the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) of the meter readers. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) urged consumers to use energy more efficiently, especially during the summer, when power demand is expected to spike. 

“Due to the pandemic where all people are stuck at home, we keep on telling customers to minimize their energy usage,” PHILRECA president and partylist Rep. Presley de Jesus said. 

“This is what we are trying to impart to our customers especially to those complaining that they lost their jobs yet power bills continue to rise. [What] they do not understand is that they are mostly at home because of the lockdown,” he added.