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Meralco to study exemption from disconnection 

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To avoid disconnection, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) advised customers who are having a hard time paying their bills to coordinate with its business centers, according to a report by GMA News.

Interviewed on Unang Hirit, Meralco spokesperson Zoe Zaldarriaga said the company may exempt some customers from disconnection on a case-to-case basis.

“Pumunta sila sa ating mga business center kasi hindi naman din puwede na balewalain lang kapag nakatanggap sila ng disconnection notice dahil, malamang sa hindi, talagang magkaroon ng disconnection,” he said.

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“Ang magandang gawin nila, tumungo sa ating business center at makipag-usap sa amin. At kami naman ay hahanap ng solusyon paano kami makatulong kung talagang may difficulty magbayad,” he added.

Meralco's no-disconnection policy, implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to end on January 31. Zaldarriaga said they have no general policy on exempting customers from disconnection.

“Wala na po tayong general policy unlike in the past pero ang ginagawa natin is on a case-to-case basis,” he said.

“As I mentioned, hindi naman namin priority ang magputol o mag-disconnect. Ang ginagawa namin ngayon, naghahanap kami ng solusyon sa problema ng consumers na may difficulty magbayad,” he added.

On Tuesday, Meralco said it would study the suggestion of Senator Risa Hontiveros to extend the installment payment scheme for its customers amid the economic impact of the pandemic.

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy, Hontiveros asked if the company would be willing to implement such to prevent the disconnection of consumers who can't afford to pay their bills yet.

"We can consider, we will study the suggestion to extend payment terms for our customers,” Meralco Vice President for Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said.

“We just have to note that out of the total bill, [the] actual distribution portion is a portion that accrues to Meralco and the rest are passed through charges which we have to settle in full and on time," he added.


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