MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is resuming power disconnection within its franchise area after the government placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under a less strict lockdown level.
In a press release issued on Saturday, Meralco has assured customers that it will be “very considerate and compassionate” in managing unpaid, overdue bills.
Until end-May, most of the power provider’s customers will be under a general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions.”
The firm said that those who are having a difficult time in fully paying their overdue bills, may get in touch with Meralco “so that a lighter schedule may be arranged.”
Otherwise, standard disconnection procedures will apply.
“Given the heightened restrictions still being implemented during the GCQ, we continue to take into consideration the challenges our customers are facing amid these difficult times,” Meralco First Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand O. Geluz said.
He hopes that the distribution utility’s continued consideration will lessen the burden of consumers who will be given more time to settle their dues.
Meralco said customers can get in touch by sending private or direct messages on its Facebook and Twitter platforms, or they may call the utility’s hotline.
“If they still need to go to the Meralco Business Centers, they may opt to book an online appointment through the Meralco website for a safe and hassle-free transaction. Meralco BCs are open to accept payments, applications and customer assistance,” the firm said.
Meralco said vital operations, including meter reading and bill delivery, will continue amid the GCQ.
“Our continued operations will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly. But rest assured there will be strict implementation of health protocols in order to safeguard the health and safety of both customers and our personnel,” Mr. Geluz said.
He added that crews will be ready to respond to any emergencies and reports.
The development comes after President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved an interagency task force’s suggestion to put the capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to 31, according to a statement from presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr.
Last month, Meralco extended its “no-disconnection” policy until May 14, after the government decided to extend the second strictest level of lockdown — modified enhanced community quarantine — in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to contain the fresh surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.
Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., which has interest in through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Angelica Y. Yang