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  • Meralco Explains May 2020 Bill Is Problematic, Will Issue Correction For Each Customer

    The high electricity rates during the ECQ shocked customers.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Meralco Explains May 2020 Bill Is Problematic, Will Issue Correction For Each Customer
PHOTO BY iStock
  • If you were one of the consumers who experienced double or triple your usual amount due in your May 2020 billing, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) finally offers an explanation: the company failed to indicate that it had included their customers’ estimated March and April power consumption in their May billing.

    Meralco on Monday admitted the oversight during the Senate energy committee hearing that discussed the “bill shock” reported by the company’s customers. In a report by Inquirer.net, senators claimed that this caused confusion among the company’s consumers.

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    Senator Sherwin Gatchalian presented his May electric bill, which reached over Php23,000 — he was charged Php10,000 for March, Php10,000 for April, and Php3,000 for May.

    “During March and April, I was not in this condo. I was in Valenzuela," he explained, as reported by ABS-CBN News. "And in fact, during the duration of the ECQ, which is March, April, May, I only stayed in the condo for less than 17 days. Ang nangyari, itong March and April mo, are overestimates (What happened is that these March and April are overestimates)."

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    Victor Genuino, Meralco’s First Vice President and Head of Customer Retail Services and Corporate Communications, explained that Gatchalian’s May bill contains the estimated consumption for March and April, plus his actual meter reading for May.

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    “If you paid your March and April bill, and if there are overestimations on that, that would have been reflected on your May bill already,” explained Genuino. “Since you already paid your May bill. That is already your actual consumption for the periods March, April, May.”

    As meter reading was suspended during the enhanced community quarantine, some bills from Mach and April were estimated based on the past 3 months’ average daily consumption. (Click here to understand your May Meralco bill.)

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    Genuino added that some consumers may have experienced “overestimation” in their bills, while some were “underestimated.” Since Gatchalian’s May bill accounted for the overestimation, no refund is needed.

    However, Gatchalian pointed out that there was a lack of “clear explanation” regarding the computation of the current billing period on the May bill. It also did not indicate whether adjustments were carried over from the March and April 2020 billing period.

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    “Nowhere in the bill said that you added the estimate kasi it’s very clear na wala ‘yan sa bill,” the senator said.

    “So where will I find out that there is an overestimation, kung in-add ninyo ‘yung overestimation?” he asked.

    Genuino replied that Gatchalian’s May bill “already reflects all the estimates taking into account all your March and April consumption.” He also added that for the month of May, “as long as it’s based on actual meter reading will be reflective already of all your March and April consumptions.”

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    Despite the explanation, Gatchalian said that his May bill still did not indicate whether the March and April consumption included in the bill were estimated or were already the actual consumption.

    “It’s very clear, estimate, wala naman nakalagay na estimated. Kaya ko binayaran kasi baka maputulan,” the senator said.

    “My point of the matter is, maraming ganitong cases na overestimation. Maraming ganitong cases, and without clear explanation that you embedded the estimates for March and April. People will think this is the actual reading,” he added.

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    At this point, Genuino agreed with Gatchalian’s statement. “You are correct Sir, in a sense that we weren’t able to reflect where all of these additions to the estimated bills were in your previous consumption,” he said.

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    Meralco will send personalized letters to its customers to clarify the “problematic billing.” It had previously announced that their “no disconnection” period will be extended to September 30, 2020 to give consumers time to settle their bills.

    “The May is the real problematic billing, I would say, I mean it has been demonstrated by the chair (Senator Gatchalian) in his particular case with respect to his own Meralco bill that has really created the confusion,” Meralco chief executive officer and president Ray Espinosa said during the committee hearing.

    “That is something I want to be able to correct by issuing this more personalized letter to each customer to explain to them precisely how the consumption has been calculated, what their actual consumption was for the periods in question,” he added.

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    For any complaints or concerns, call Meralco’s hotline at 16211 or email them at customercare@meralco.com.ph

    Did you experience the same thing with your Meralco bill? What did you do about it? We'd like to hear from you! Tell us in the comments or email us at smartparentingsubmissions@gmail.com.

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