ERC Appeals to LGUs - Allow DUs’ Meter Readers During MECQ
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) appealed to the Local Government Units (LGUs), particularly those under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), to be more lenient with the meter readers of the Distribution Utilities (DUs) and allow them to conduct their meter reading activities.“We urge the LGUs under the MECQ to allow the Distribution Utilities’ meter readers, with properly issued IATF pass and in complete Personal Protective Equipment, to conduct actual meter reading to enable the DUs to reflect and bill the consumers’ actual electricity consumption in order to avoid possible bill shocks”
, said ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera.
The ERC is likewise directing the DUs to provide their meter readers and other frontline personnel with complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other logistical requirements, such as transportation.
Since June (this year), the ERC was swamped with a multitude of consumer complaints on electricity bills after the DUs reflected and billed based on estimated consumption during the lockdown periods, which started in March until May 2020, due to the meter readers’ inability to conduct actual meter reading. To address the said large number of complaints referred to the ERC by displeased electricity consumers, the ERC’s Consumer Affairs Service (CAS) augmented its communication platforms.
Corollary to the overwhelming number of complaints from electricity consumers nationwide, the ERC directed certain DUs to explain the questioned billings to ERC and to their respective customers. “We are being proactive this time in order to prevent another episode of the surge of consumer complaints due to the failure of the DUs to conduct actual meter reading. We are appealing to the LGUs to allow and extend any needed assistance to the meter readers to prevent a second wave of bill shock”
, Chair Devanadera added.