Meralco power rate cut hailed

FOLLOWING the appeal of Speaker Alan Cayetano, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is providing at least P101 million worth of relief to the so-called lifeline consumers.

Meralco officials announced this during the virtual hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability, and also the extension of the moratorium on the disconnection of services to consumers who are unable to pay their electric bills.

Meralco President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Espinosa said the company is providing P101 million worth of relief to its consumers who use less than 100 kilowatt-hours a month.

Cayetano had asked to Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Senior Vice President Atty. William Pamintuan in July to consider giving a 50-percent discount to or delaying the payment of electricity bills for “at least the sectors that need it most.”

During the hearing, Espinosa said the relief is equivalent to the distribution charge of the 2.77 million lifeline customers as of February 2020.

“Bilang tugon po sa mungkahi ni Speaker Cayetano, kami po ay magbibigay ng relief or ayuda sa kanila equivalent to a total of P101 million sa aming distribution charge,” he said.

There are 2.77 million lifeline customers.

Cayetano also welcomed the decision of Meralco to defer the disconnection of power lines of those who have unpaid electricity bills amid the pandemic until the end of October.

He expressed appreciation to the power company for heeding the call of the House of Representatives, saying the decision was “a selfless act of one kababayan to another.”

“Just as the President has expressed his appreciation for all those who have helped during this time of crisis, I would also like to thank the executives of Meralco for heeding the call of our suffering people,” Cayetano said.

He said he was thankful not just for the discount and the promise of no disconnections until October for those who would fall back on their bill “but for standing with us in trying to find ways to help our nation.”