MANILA - The Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday said it has barred distribution utilities from disconnecting select accounts due to non-payment of bills until Dec. 31 in compliance with the Bayanihan to Recover as One law.
Consumers with monthly consumption not higher than twice the ERC approved maximum lifeline consumption level are covered by the order, the ERC said in an advisory.
"Distribution utilities are directed NOT to implement any disconnection on account of non-payment of bills until December 31, 2020 for consumers with monthly consumption not higher than twice the ERC approved maximum lifeline consumption level," the regulator said.
For other consumers whose consumption were above the cap, distributors are directed to implement a minimum of 30-day grace period on all payments falling due within the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) period, the regulator said.
Dues should be payable in 3 equal monthly installments without interests, penalties and other charges, it said.
Distributors should also inform their customers of the directives through a bill insert, social media announcements, radio and posting in bulletins, the ERC said.
Generators, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp, National Power Corp, National Transmission Corp, National Grid Corp of the Philippines, Independent Power Producers, Independent Power Producer Administrators and the Market Operator were also advised to extend a 30-day grace period, staggered payment and no disconnection policy to eligible distributors and other customers.
Government offices were exempted from the grace period and installment arrangements, the ERC said.
Meralco customers covered by this order are those consuming 200kWh and below per month, it said.
Meralco has extended its no disconnection policy several times this year to aid consumers who were unable to pay their bills due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meralco was also earlier fined for not implementing billing advisories released covering the COVID-19 lockdown period.