The customers of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) who will be locked up in their homes because of the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) during the Holy Week will not need to worry about probable service cut-off, because the utility firm has extended its ‘no disconnection’ policy until mid-April this year.

In an announcement to the media, Meralco indicated that it is “immediately suspending all disconnection activities in its franchise area until April 15, 2021,” – and such service areas will cover Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Pampanga and Quezon.

As stated by Meralco First Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand O. Geluz, the company was prompted on that decision following the government’s mandate on ECQ 2.0 in the so-called “NCR Plus Bubble”, in reference to Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite which all logged escalating cases of Covid-19 infections.

“Cognizant of the plight of our customers amid these challenging times brought about by the pandemic and in support of the government’s effort to manage the transmission of Covid-19, we commit to put on hold all disconnection activities until April 15, 2021,” the Meralco executive stressed.

To note, the ‘no disconnection’ rule — primarily for consumers in the lifeline threshold of 100 kilowatt hours (kWhs) and below, as well as those end-users with arrears that piled up since last year’s ECQ and modified ECQ (MECQ) protocols — had been mandated by the Department of Energy (DOE) to be stretched until March 31 this year.

Nevertheless, given the imposition of new round of stricter quarantine measures, Meralco has taken upon itself to initiate the additional 15-day leeway on ‘no service cut-off’ for customers.

“We hope this measure will contribute to easing the burden of our customers and provide enough relief and time for them to settle their bills,” Geluz said.

The power firm executive emphasized that “Meralco will continue to be very considerate during these trying times and vowed to assist its customers in need of help in their electricity concerns.”

Beyond the extended ‘no disconnection’ recourse it set, Meralco similarly guaranteed that its operations won’t be interrupted, especially during the ECQ period.

Further, the utility firm advised that its meter readers will carry on with their activities so its customers will only be billed with the actual consumption – that way, the ‘estimated billing snafu’ last year can be avoided.

“Meralco business operations, including meter reading activities, will continue despite stricter quarantine measures…this will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly,” Geluz stressed; while emphasizing that the power company will adhere to “strict implementation of health protocols in order to safeguard the health and safety of both customers and our personnel.” (MMV)

Source: Manila Bulletin (