MERALCO says it had various programs for customers during pandemic

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The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) said it has been implementing various programs and initiatives to help ease the burden of its customers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

MERALCO recently said businesses within its franchise area saved around Php3.2 billion on their electric bills after the utility waived its Guaranteed Minimum Billing Demand, helping over 95,000 customers that are mostly small and medium enterprises.

“During the height of the pandemic last year, when the community restrictions were at the strictest and businesses were not allowed to operate, MERALCO provided payment relief for businesses that were not able to meet their guaranteed minimum billing demand,” MERALCO Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said.

The power giant also said it offered programs to regular customers during the pandemic. This includes installment payment arrangements for those experiencing difficulty in paying their bills stemming from the surge in electric bills during last year’s lockdowns.

“MERALCO is probably the only utility in the country that suspended service disconnection the longest. We understand the need for electricity when we were all asked to limit mobility and stay at home, so we did what we can to help — which is to continue serving with quality and reliable electricity service 24/7,” MERALCO Vice President for Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga said in a statement.

“We continue to collaborate with the entire industry in ensuring that there will be no disruption of supply. Those who requested for payment extensions, even beyond what was ordered to us by the regulator, we made sure that customers who needed time to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic were supported and assisted,” he added.

MERALCO’s statement comes as Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta called for a review of Republic Act 9209 or its congressional franchise, set to expire in 2028.