Meralco Senate Hearing on ‘Bill Shock’ Issue

The Manila Electric Company, also known as Meralco, is the largest private-sector electric distribution utility company in the Philippines. It is catering to a large number of consumers in 36 cities and 75 municipalities. Now, the company has an issue about inconveniencing customers over its controversial billings during the community quarantine protocols.

Photo Credit: Manila Bulletin

On July 6, Monday, the senate of the Philippines made a hearing for ‘anti-consumer’ billing practices against Meralco. The electric company admitted that there may have been ‘overestimation’ and ‘underestimation’ in some of the bills of its consumers for these past few months. Senator Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan Party said that during this time of the pandemic, the overpriced and confusing charging of electricity shouldn’t add to the problems of our countrymen anymore. She urged the government to use its full force of the law to put an end to abusive or questionable practices by power firms and other public utilities. Senator Hontiveros stated that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should investigate and study the filing of possible charges against Meralco for its ‘bill shock’ issue amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

During the Senate Committee on Energy hearing, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the chairman himself also complained about his overestimated payable and that Meralco is not doing a good job in explaining and laying out the electricity bills. The Meralco Chief Executive, Ray Espinosa, apologized for the failure of clarifying their customers on what is actual and what is estimated. To address the issue, the company pledge to send laymanized letters explaining the computations.

The ERC is now looking into allegations of illogically high electrical bills charged by Meralco in these trying times of community lockdown. If they are proven of violating an ERC order, the giant energy company should be immediately charged and penalized for ‘anti-consumer’ practices. Meralco is handling the issue with its customers by hiring more people to respond to service complaints.

Senator Hontiveros remarkably said, “Sa gitna ng madilim na yugto ng bansa, imbis na maging liwanag ang Meralco ay lalo pang ikinulong sa dilim ang mga Pilipino.”

No Comments

Leave A Comment