Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said Monday it will not disconnect customers with unpaid bills until the end of August.
Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga, however, said customers should pay at least one of the four- or six-month staggered bills so they would not be disconnected, adding the August timeline could still be extended.
READ: Meralco to complete readings this month
“We have already completed our meter readings, so by the end of June all our bills will based on actual meter readings,” Zaldarriaga said.
“Our current situation now is that we handle concerns of customers individually. We will address and we will continue engaging all of our customers one-on-one. It is definitely challenging, but we understand also that there are still questions.”
Zaldarriaga says Meralco’s priority is “keeping the lights on” during this pandemic, when most people stay at home.
Meralco drew many customer complaints due to their unusually high power charges in June.
Meralco officials said that was due to the high power consumption as a result of the high temperatures and the compounded estimates during the enhanced community quarantine.
READ: Power rates down again this June
Meralco vice president and head of utility economics Lawrence Fernandez, meanwhile, said power demand continued to be low compared to the pre-ECQ levels.
He said second-quarter peak demand reached 7,000 megawatts compared with 7,600 MW during the first quarter.
“During the second quarter, Meralco’s peak demand was around 7,000 megawatts, which was reached last June 23,” Fernandez said.
“While this is higher than the 5,500 megawatt peak in April, at the height of the enhanced community quarantine the demand was still lower than the pre-ECQ levels.”
Zaldarriaga earlier said the June bill would likely be higher, but assured customers it would contain a detailed explanation on the computations made for March, April, May and June.
“If you received your estimated March and April bills and you have not paid them, please set these aside. If you have paid them, rest assured Meralco will apply adjustments to your next bill,” Zaldarriaga said.
He says Meralco customers with a consumption of 200 kilowatt hours and lower have a six-month payment option.
“For those who consume more than 200 kilowatt hours, it will be a four-month installment period,” Zaldarriaga said.