MERALCO to resume disconnection by Feb. 1

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UTILITY firm Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) hinted at resuming disconnection of power supply to its delinquent customers.

In a television interview, MERALCO spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga, however, said that they may consider exempting a few from disconnection depending on the situation.

Asked to elaborate, Zaldarriaga said they have no general policy on exempting customers from disconnection.

To avoid disconnection, Zaldarriaga urged customers to settle before MERALCO’s no-disconnection policy expires at the end of the month. For those who are having a hard time paying their bills, the MERALCO spokesperson advised them to coordinate with its business centers.

“Pumunta sila sa ating mga business center kasi hindi naman din puwede na balewalain lang kapag nakatanggap sila ng disconnection notice dahil, malamang sa hindi, talagang magkaroon ng disconnection,” he said.

“Ang magandang gawin nila, tumungo sa ating business center at makipag-usap sa amin. At kami naman ay hahanap ng solusyon paano kami makatulong kung talagang may difficulty magbayad,” he added.

MERALCO’s no-disconnection policy, implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to end on January 31.

“Wala na po tayong general policy unlike in the past pero ang ginagawa natin is on a case-to-case basis,” he said.

“As I mentioned, hindi naman namin priority ang magputol o mag-disconnect. Ang ginagawa namin ngayon, naghahanap kami ng solusyon sa problema ng consumers na may difficulty magbayad,” he added.

On Tuesday, MERALCO said it would study the suggestion of Senator Risa Hontiveros to extend the installment payment scheme for its customers amid the economic impact of the pandemic.

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, Hontiveros asked if the company would be willing to implement such to prevent the disconnection of consumers who can’t afford to pay their bills yet.

“We can consider, we will study the suggestion to extend payment terms for our customers,” MERALCO Vice President for Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said.

“We just have to note that out of the total bill, [the] actual distribution portion is a portion that accrues to Meralco and the rest are passed through charges, which we have to settle in full and on time,” he added.

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