DoE appeals to electricity firms to suspend disconnections in areas under strict lockdown

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE ENERGY department has asked power distributors to suspend disconnection activities in their respective franchise areas that are under strict lockdown levels.

In an advisory issued on Aug. 6, Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi encouraged power providers serving Metro Manila, Laguna, Aklan, Apayao, Cebu City, Cebu Province, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Lapu Lapu City, and Mandaue City to implement the “no disconnection” policy to all consumers with unsettled dues.

“The DoE recognizes the potential difficulty of all electricity consumers to settle their bills on time,” Mr. Cusi said.

He also advised all electricity end-users to immediately coordinate with their distribution utility for “amicable” payment arrangements” once the strict quarantine levels are lifted.

Mr. Cusi urged electricity consumers who can pay and settle their bills to continue doing so within their original due dates to help manage the cash flow in the energy supply chain, and ensure the unhampered operations of power utilities.

This comes shortly after Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) announced it is holding off on disconnection activities in areas under strict lockdown, including Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Lucena City.

Amid the halt in disconnections, the utility giant said that it will push through with vital operations like meter reading, bill delivery and will “work around the clock” to serve its customers.

Meralco’s controling 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

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