Meralco, other distributors extend power bill collection by a month

By Alena Mae S. Flores – March 17, 2020 at 09:10 pm

The Energy Regulatory Commission ordered distribution utilities in Luzon to extend by a month the collection of customer bills falling due on March 15 to April 14 following the government’s pronouncement of an enhanced community quarantine for Luzon.

Manila Electric Co. said in response that Meralco bills due March 1 to April 14 were given a 30-day extension from due date.

Meralco also postponed maintenance activity services unless necessary to ensure continuous electricity service during the quarantine period.

ERC also asked generation companies with power supply agreements with the Luzon distribution utilities and contracts with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the market operator and NGCP for the transmission charges “to extend the period of payments of Luzon DUs for 30 days from April 14 without interest and penalties.”

Meanwhile, the operations of the country’s trading floor of electricity or the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market is “business as usual,” the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines Inc. said Tuesday.

“IEMOP shall exhaust all possible effort to maintain the WESM operation with utmost consideration to the safety and security of IEMOP personnel. Should there be force majeure conditions, market intervention shall be declared in accordance with the existing WESM Rules and Procedures,” IEMOP said in a statement.

IEMOP said that in compliance with government guidelines on social distancing and minimizing exposure, it implemented limited work hours for employees, allowing work from home arrangements for the non-critical operations personnel.

“Rest assured that critical functions, such as trading operations, IT, metering, billing and settlements, and financial services, will be properly manned so that WESM operations will not be affected,” IEMOP, the operator of WESM, said.

The management shall also issue Certificate of Employment as proof of the personnel’s employment in IEMOP to ensure his/her entry to Metro Manila.

IEMOP said market advisories will be provided to all trading participants and stakeholders containing status updates on the market operations.

All trading participants, stakeholders, suppliers and other visitors to IEMOP will be entertained at the 16th Floor, Robinsons Equitable Tower, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center.

Access to the 9th and 19th Floor, where the IEMOP employees are holding offices, will be restricted. “Rest assured that IEMOP recognizes its critical function in the Philippine electric power industry and the associated businesses. Thus, we remain focused in ensuring the continuous operation of the WESM and RCOA. We shall continuously monitor developments regarding the threat of COVID-19 and implement measures corresponding to these developments,” IEMOP said.

ERC also issued an advisory that it would implement a work-from-home policy from March 17 to April 14.

The deadline of payables to ERC was extended by 30 days.