P2.69B Bill Savings for Businesses
Convenience fees previously collected from March 16 to July 15 have been completely refunded already to customers. Photo from iStock.
P2.69B electric bill savings for businesses in the Meralco franchise area
The distribution utility is taking measures to keep the economy on track.
By Cris Laraño
That’s how much Meralco’s business customers, both small and medium enterprises and large corporations, saved from their electric bills after the country’s largest power utility waived the Guaranteed Minimum Billing Demand (GMBD) during the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ period of March 16 to August 31, 2020
From March 16 to June 30, GMBD amounting to P1.906 billion was waived for 87,728 business customers.
In July, GMBD suspension was extended to industries that have been allowed only partial operational capacity, or not allowed to operate, based on the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) GCQ Guidelines. This benefited 57,939 business customers with GMBD relief estimated at P513 million.
In August, further extensions were granted for industries that have been allowed skeleton workforce to 50% operational capacity, or not allowed to operate, based on updated IATF Guidelines and Department of Trade and Industry Memorandum Circular for MECQ. This benefited 28,463 business customers with GMBD relief estimated at P272 million.
By waiving the GMBD, Meralco, led by President and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, hopes this will help local businesses, from small to large, and keep the economy afloat.
In these challenging times, it’s important to reignite a cycle of prosperity: keeping businesses going, providing jobs, and contributing to the country’s taxes – all of which are essential to stop the economy from sliding further.
During the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on August 24, Meralco announced its continuous efforts to provide financial relief to its customers, in addition to allowing customers to pay their electricity bills in installments.
Here are several of the company’s initiatives to do more than just keeping the lights on.
Force majeure amounts to total savings of P1.9B
Meralco had invoked since March the force majeure provisions in its contracts with power suppliers. This lowered generation charge and resulted in total savings of P1.9 billion, which the utility company has passed on to its customers in the form of lower power rates.
Related: Expect Lower Power Rates in August
Shouldering the P30.4M total convenience fees and P64M meter reading costs
The distribution utility emphasized that it continues to shoulder the convenience fee for Meralco Online transactions until the end of GCQ period. Convenience fees previously collected from March 16 to July 15 have been completely refunded already to customers. This covers 647,000 transactions amounting to P30.4 million.
In his update report, Espinosa also explained that meter reading costs not incurred during the ECQ and MECQ period have also been refunded beginning July 15, 2020, covering 6.7 million customers’ bills amounting to P64 million.
‘Lifeline customers’ discount totals to P101M
Meralco will provide a discount to the distribution charge collected from 2.77 million ‘lifeline customers’ or those who consume 100 kilowatts per hour and below as of February 2020. 40 percent of Meralco customers fall within this consumption bracket.
“We will be providing them relief equivalent to P101 million in the form of distribution charge discount,” said Atty. Espinosa.
No disconnections further extended
"In response to your request, I am now extending Meralco’s suspension of disconnection until the end of October to give more time to our customers to save enough to be able to pay for their bills," said Atty. Espinosa in the same hearing.
Bulacan First District Representative Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado said that they have been working to extend Meralco’s grace period, but urged customers who are capable of settling their bills to take initiative to prevent the energy sector from collapsing, which can cause the economy to slide down further, “Personal po kaming nakikiusap… kung kaya natin magbayad, magbayad tayo. Dahil kapag bumagsak ang energy sector natin balik na naman tayo sa stone age… wala rin tayo magiging trabaho kasi sino naman ang mag-iinvest sa bansang Pilipinas kung wala tayong kuryente."
(“We are personally and humbly asking for your consideration… if we can settle our bills, let’s settle them. Because if our energy sector crumbles, we will regress back to stone age… we also won’t have jobs because who would want to invest in the Philippines if we don’t have electricity.”)
Meralco continues to do everything in its power to help sustain the economy; from keeping the lights on to keeping its customers and the country empowered.
To learn more, contact your Meralco Relationship Manager or call 16210.
Story originally posted on Power Club.