Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday has urged public utility companies to suspend disconnection for unpaid electric and water bills while under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcos, during a Dobol B sa News TV interview, described the utilities’ demands to pay the bills as “shocks” in the electric and water bills of consumers around the country.
“Na-electric shock tayo sa ating bill ng kuryente noong nakaraang buwan, tapos sinabi nila na hindi naman daw ganun, automatically generated daw,” Marcos said.
“In the meantime, double whammy kasi sinabayan pa yung kuryente ng tubig. Meron na ngang COVID, meron pang Meralco at yung tubig nga na nagtaasan,” Marcos also said.
While public utility companies offered consumers to pay their bills on an installment basis, Marcos urged them not to disconnect the electric and water services of those who cannot pay on time.
“Suspension muna sa pagdi-disconnect kasi bawal naman yung ganun, bakit naman magdi-disconnect? So i-suspend muna during COVID, walang putul-putol ng kuryente o ng tubig,” she said.
According to Marcos, public utility companies complained of losses after many businesses and factories halted their operations due to quarantine restrictions imposed against the spread of COVID-19.
But she said these electric and water utility companies will still be able to recoup their losses from residential consumers.
“Labis-labis naman ang kinita nila sa mga bahay-bahay kasi naman lahat ng tao ay na-stuck up sa bahay, talaga namang marerekupo ano man ang nalugi nila sa mga pabrika, kikitain naman nila sa mga bahay yun,” she said.
Last month, customers of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) complained of huge spikes in their electric bills, some of which were double or even triple of the usual amount.
In an earlier interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, reiterated his plan of calling for a hearing if he would not receive a clear explanation from Meralco about the huge spikes in electric bills.
Marcos agreed with Gatchalian, saying Meralco has to explain why the electric bills of its customers significantly increased in the past months.
“Alam natin summer rates. Pero pinaghandaan naman nila yang summer rates na yan, at talaga namang alam natin tuwing tag-init, nagtataasan talaga yung konsumo. Pero hindi naman kaakibat nun yung pagtaas ng presyo. Kaya wala talagang paliwanag yan na maayos,” she said.
“Si Chairman [Agnes] Devanadera ng ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission), very cooperative naman sa amin ni Senator Gatchalian na maimbestigahan yan nang todo-todo dahil nga ang laking hassle sa tao,” Marcos added./Stacy Ang