A party-list lawmaker on Friday asked the Manila Electric Company to provide the House Committee on Energy a detailed explanation on the unusual spike in the electric bills of their consumers, many of them complaining that their bill has tripled during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
In the virtual hearing held by the House Committee on Energy on the response of the energy sector in relation to the COVID-19 crisis, Rep. Jericho Nograles of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) and House Committee on Energy vice chairman, said that Meralco has been flooded with complaints by netizens for the sudden and suspicious spike in their electric bills.
In many cases, Nograles said that electric bills have tripled.
Nograles said that although it is expected that electric consumption would definitely increase because more people are using gadgets and appliances while on home quarantine, he finds it ridiculous that power cost would even triple.
According to Nograles, Meralco needs to properly explain in detail what prompted the spike as he noted that power cost should even go down at this point because of the continued decrease of oil prices in the world market.
“There’s a brewing concern that’s been hot in the internet regarding issues and complaints on the spiking reading and billings, I would like to advise you to send our information to the committee as well as to the public to answer these comments and at least you can address that, “Nograles said.
“We are faced with a difficult situation; this situation, we have to be more sensitive to a more sensitive public,” he added.
For his part, Rep. Godofredo Guya of RECODOBA party-list group, a member of the minority bloc of the House Committee on Energy, said Meralco should present a comparative analysis and simple presentation or a simulation to justify their claim using the prior months and the current month.
“They have to prove that consumption will really increase during the ECQ and during this summertime. Let us look at their numbers. And for then to published their Schedule of Rates used in calculating the said billing month,” Guya said.
Nograles also urged all other distribution utilities to ramp up their information drives in order to address foreseeable consumer concerns.
During the same hearing, Nograles thanked the National Power Corporation (NPC) for donating P4 Billion to the government’s “Bayanihan Fund” which was set up by Congress as a platform to fund relief efforts for those who were economically displaced because of the COVID crisis.