Sen. Gatchalian Demands Meralco Separate Sheet On Underestimate, Overestimate Billing

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Senator Win Gatchalian has urged the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the country’s largest distribution utility, to come up with a separate bill that is more transparent and will be very clear to the consumers, following mounting complaints of sudden surge in supposed electricity consumption for the month of May.

During Fridays’ Joint Congressional Energy Commission hearing, the Senate Committee on Energy Chairman castigated Meralco for failing to provide clear and sufficient information leaving consumers confused and appalled, especially residential users.

In the same hearing, Meralco has expressed that only less than one percent of residential bills received in May were based on actual meter reading because of strict quarantine measures.

“Sa bill walang nakalagay na overestimate at underestimate at hindi kami nakakasiguro kung anong buwan ba nag-overestimate o nag-underestimate kayo sa computation ng bill,“ Gatchalian asked Meralco.

The senator has demanded swift action from Meralco and asked the company to come out with a separate sheet stipulating overestimates and underestimates in the electricity bill.

For this reason, Gatchalian urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to issue a new advisory that will instruct, not only Meralco but, all other distribution utilities as well to unbundle the exact rates that were charged to consumers during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.

“Talagang malaki ang pagkukulang ng Meralco pagdating sa transparency. I totally agree to that because of this extraordinary computation, we need a separate bill to explain it properly. Hindi lang lalabas na isang bagsakan. Can we apply it to all utilities para hindi na magulat ang ating mga kababayan sa ibang lugar?” asked the lawmaker.

Meanwhile, Meralco’s waiving of the 47-peso convenience fee for online bill payment during the ECQ also irked Gatchalian.

“Pwde naman palang tanggalin ang 47 pesos. Sana sinabi na nila nung una para hindi na nadagdagan pa ang stress ng mga mamamayan,” Gatchalian concluded.

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