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“Ay, ‘pre na-kuryente ka,” referring to an error in a journalist’s story. 

That was back in the early years of my being a journalist. “Na-kuryente, Meralcoed, Napocored,” was some of the words used then, depending on the gravity or degree of your mistake.

 It has evolved with the changing environment. It’s now tagged as “fake news.”

 Using the word “electrocuted” or na-kuryente” has relevance again because the “consumption averaging” that power firm management adopted in calculating our bill resulted a sharp increase.  

Meralco is currently under siege with thousands of consumers complaining the over charging in their bills. While we have been silently complying to the stay home, stay, healthy and safe order of the government, the power company’s skeletal workforce were doing computation averaging, bypassing meter reading because no one is allowed out on the streets.

If you’re a practicing public relations (PR) officer, I am sure that you don’t want to be in the shoes of Joe Zaldarriaga, a mild mannered persona and spokesperson of Meralco as he is being poke on all sides.

To media practitioners, a mention of Joe Zaldarriaga is synonymous to mentioning Meralco, or should is say interchangeable.  Whenever there’s power supply interruption, “…there’s blackout in the neighborhood, who do you call? Joe Zaldarraiga.” (a take off from the blockbuster movie of ‘90s, ghost buster) to explain the reason behind and the expectation as to the return to normalcy of the power supply.

Our power consumption, naturally, soar since almost all family members are locked in, and connecting with the outside world through the internet.

Aside the increase usage of electronic gadgets, there’s the air conditioning unit or units are also turned slightly longer because the period of the lockdown coincides with summer. Then are potato couch beige-watching Korean telenova on Netflix, Vui and iFlix.

Naturally, just by sheer guestimates, electric consumption will sharply increase. I wouldn’t be surprise if the water bill will likely take the same hefty increase.

Likewise, in the usage of the internet. Have you been electrocuted with your ISP use going beyond the monthly allowable MB or is it GB?

But Joe and other Meralco officials have to justify the “electrocution” of our monthly bill, resulting to its high jump. Going through the fine details of our Meralco bill is mind-boggling. There are roughly 80,000 Meralco customers in Metro Manila Area. Already, 50,000 have filed their complaints before the Energy Regulatory Commission.

This pandemic is not only wreaking havoc in the global economy. 

To millions and millions of Filipinos, this virus of the century continuous to sow fear, panic, confusion in their domestic and economic front as well. 

The fear (of the virus) and uncertainty of livelihood is a double blade dagger pierced on the lives of majority of our country men. Surely, "electrocution" should be one of the last  things we want to happen in our lives..

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