MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) will halt its disconnection activities in its franchise area until April 15 shortly after the government placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
In a press release issued on Saturday, Meralco said that it is “immediately suspending all disconnections” until mid-April.
“We hope this measure will contribute to easing the burden of our customers and provide enough relief and time for them to settle their bills,” Meralco First Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand O. Geluz was quoted as saying.
He reiterated that Meralco will continue to be considerate, and vowed to help customers with their electricity concerns.
The utility firm said business operations, including meter readings and bill deliveries, will continue amid stricter quarantine measures.
“Rest assured there will be strict implementation of health protocols in order to safeguard the health and safety of both customers and our personnel. This will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly,” Mr. Geluz said.
He added that the Meralco crew will be on standby to respond to emergencies and reports.
Meralco said that customers can reach the power firm by sending a personal message through its social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, Meralco said. They can also call its hotline before heading to Meralco business centers, which will be on skeleton force.
The distribution utility said that its business centers will remain open to accept payments and applications, and will continue assisting customers. Business hours from Monday to Friday will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays. The centers will be closed on April 1 to 3 in observance of Holy Week.
On Saturday, Presidential Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said that the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be placed under a one-week ECQ starting from March 29 up until April 4, 2021.
Earlier this month, Meralco reported that its core net income in the fourth quarter slid by 11.2% P5.98 billion year on year, capping 2020 with residential users making up the biggest share in power consumption.
Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., which has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Angelica Y. Yang