Staggered power bills proposed

SENATOR Win Gatchalian on Wednesday suggested to stagger the two months of electricity bills for not less than three months to ease the burden of Filipino households in this time of crisis.

The senator said the government needs to come up with a solution to help Filipino households, whose electricity bills are expected to pile up after a month of reprieve especially that the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) has been extended.

Gatchalian expressed his concern that ordinary Filipinos, especially those belonging to the marginalized sector, might not have the financial capacity to pay their two month-worth of electricity bills in full and therefore risk having their electricity disconnected.

The Senate Committee on Energy chairman prods the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to look for solutions that will ease payment terms of consumers.

"Dahil nga marami sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi nakakapagtrabaho ngayon, lalo na yung mga 'no work, no pay', ang panawagan natin sa ERC ay gumawa ng hakbang para hindi sila maputulan ng kuryente," Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian also appealed to Meralco to temporarily waive its convenience fee so that consumers may be able to pay their electricity bill using the company's mobile app without extra charges. According to Meralco, consumers who pay via the said app will have to pay an additional P47 convenience fee.

"For humanitarian reasons, let's think of ways that will make the lives of our kababayans better and alleviate their suffering as we face this pandemic," he said.