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ERC orders 6-month bill payments

The Energy Regulatory Commission ordered distribution utilities to stagger the payments of electricity consumers to up to six equal monthly installments, depending on the level of usage, during the enhanced community quarantine and modified ECQ periods.

The move is expected to help ease the burden of consumers who have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ERC issued the advisory after consumers complained of high power rates from Manila Electric Co. during the May billing period at a time when people have no work amid the COVID-19 health scare.

The ERC, in a May 22 advisory, directed DUs to allow their electricity customers with monthly consumption of 200 kilowatt-hours and below in February to pay in up to six equal monthly installments for electricity bills falling due within the ECQ and MECQ periods.

The ECQ period started on March 15 in the National Capital Region and ended May 15. NCR on May 16 transitioned to MECQ, which is expected to end on May 31.

The regulator said the first monthly amortization of the staggered payment should not be made earlier than June 15, without penalties, interests and other fees.

For electricity customers with monthly consumption of above 200 kWh in February, the utilities should allow a staggered payment of up to four equal monthly installments on bills falling due within the ECQ and MECQ periods.

The regulator said the first monthly amortization of the staggered payment should not be made earlier than June 15, without penalties, interests and other fees.

The ERC said subsequent installments for the bills will be due every 15th of the month starting July until fully settled.

It said electricity bills falling due in June should be paid not earlier than June 30, without penalties, interest and other fees.

It also directed the utilities to conduct actual meter readings and issue later a new billing reflecting the real consumption and the corresponding amount due not later than June 8, except when the actual reading is not possible due to the implementation of the community quarantine.

The ERC said the collection of the universal charge-environmental charge equivalent to P0.0025 per kilowatthours would remain suspended until further notice.

Meanwhile, the contracting parties and utilities can still negotiate on the availment of Prompt Payment Discount and “DUs are reminded that benefits from such availment are required to be shared with their customers.”

The ERC said it would also adopt a combination of work-from-home and skeleton workforce work arrangements until June 30in compliance with with the guidelines issued by the Civil Service Commission.

Topics: Energy Regulatory Commission , ERC , electricity bill payment , enhanced community quarantine , ECQ , modified enhanced community quarantine , MECQ
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