Eighty-three electric cooperatives in the country announced a 30-day extension for electricity consumers to settle their power bills in the wake of the enhanced community quarantine, the National Electrification Administration said Thursday.
NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong said implementing the 30-day payment extension to electricity consumers would help ease their financial burden, especially those impacted by the enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The NEA said while a significant number of electric cooperatives already complied with the directive—most are found in Luzon and Visayas—other power co-ops simply released public announcements on the waiver of surcharges for late payments and suspension of disconnection activities.
“My appeal to the electric cooperatives is to comply with the advisories of both the Department of Energy and the NEA since they also get reprieve from paying their obligations to their power suppliers,” Masongsong said.
The Energy Department last week called for “solidarity” by deferring payments of obligations and dues among all stakeholders in the power sector for the benefit of consumers.
It issued an advisory addressed to all private and public corporations in the power sector on deferring payments of obligations and dues for 30 days for the benefit of consumers.
The NEA also released an advisory to all 121 power coops as the coronavirus disease was expected to take a serious financial toll on many Filipino families and industries nationwide.
It said, however, that customers who preferred to settle their bills on time could still do so by paying through electronic means, if available, for the sake of social distancing and other precautionary measures that needed to be observed.
Masongsong welcomed the steps already taken by the management of electric cooperatives to protect their employees, especially the line workers and other crews, who needed to work on the field to ensure that power distribution services would not be disrupted.
These include the adoption of work-from-home arrangements, shortened work hours or establishment of skeletal staff for people who work in the offices and the production of improvised face masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment for those who work in the field.
Masongsong called on the co-ops to ensure the continuous electricity services to consumers in their respective franchise areas, particularly to critical loads such as hospitals and medical facilities, government offices and other basic utility service providers.