Meralco pays P19-million fine for 'bill shock' incident, appeals discount order for lifeline customers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 09:43 AM

Electrical meters with countless electrical wires hanging near residences in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City on February 19, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Manila Electric Company said Monday it has paid the P19-million fine imposed by the Energy Regulatory Commission for failure to comply with billing advisories covering the lockdown period due to COVID-19 that led to "bill shocks".

"Please be informed that MERALCO paid the P19 million penalty imposed in the decision," the utility distributor said in a disclosure to the stock exchange. 

The fine was imposed for Meralco's failure to indicate that bills were estimated. It also did not comply with the mandated staggered payment arrangement on time, the ERC said in its decision dated Aug. 20.

Residents complained of "bill shocks" when the estimated or averaging scheme was implemented.

Meralco said it also filed for a Motion for Partial Reconsideration with respect to the directive to provide a retail rate discount to lifeline customers. 

The lifeline rate is a discounted rate given to low income households that cannot afford to pay at full cost. 

Pending the resolution for the motion, a retail rate discount will be implemented for the Oct. 2020 billing, Meralco said.