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No reading, no billing! Recto urges utility firms to be fair in computing bills

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Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto urged utility companies Monday (May 25) to follow a “no reading, no billing” scheme when computing the bills of their customers in a time of crisis.

In a statement, Recto said computing bills based on meter reading is the “most fair” way of determining customer’s usage.

“In the future, when a prolonged lockdown prevents actual meter reading, then with the permission of government regulators, a bill corresponding to 50 percent of estimated usage may be preliminarily billed, with the note that the full amount, based on actual meter reading will follow,” he said.

Politikos and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) have asked the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to explain how it computed bills for April and March this year, following complaints from customers.

Meralco officials have explained that March and April bills were computed based on customers’ estimated average daily consumption over the past three months. The utility company had suspended physical meter reading during the enhanced community quarantine period.

Recto said incidents of overbilling must be immediately corrected and refunds made if a customer already paid the bill.

Utility companies should also refrain from disconnecting customers’ service while the bill is being disputed or has yet to be finalized.

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