Senator Risa Hontiveros welcomed the decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to extend its “no disconnection based on non-payment” policy until the end of this year.
“Magandang balita ito para sa ating mga konsyumer na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakakabangon sa pinsalang dala ng pandemya,” Hontiveros said as ERC released its advisory directing Distribution Utilities (DU) not to implement any disconnection on non-payment of bills of households consuming 200 kwh below for Meralco consumers and 100kwh and below for electric cooperative consumers.
“This policy is humane and considerate especially at a time when Filipino families would rather put food on the table than pay their monthly obligations.”
With the unemployment rate staying at double digits and millions of workers still placed on extended furlough or floating status, the legislator considered this move from regulators as “humane and considerate” especially at a time when Filipino families would rather put food on the table than pay their monthly obligations.
“Dahil hindi kayang pagsabay-sabayin ang mga bayarin, maraming pamilya ang mas uunahin ang kakainin sa araw-araw kaysa ang magbayad ng utility bills,” the lawmaker said. “Ang patakarang ito ay tunay na makatao at magbibigay ng pag-asa sa mga kababayan natin lalo’t paparating na ang Pasko.”
The lady senator, however, expressed concern over electric cooperatives, which are non-profit in nature. In contrast with big companies like Meralco, most of the members of electric cooperatives are lifeliners or households with monthly 100kWh consumption.
“Ang electric cooperatives ay hindi katulad ng mga higanteng korporasyon na may naiipong kita sa pagnenegosyo sa mahabang panahon.” she said. “Ang electric cooperatives, kung walang singil, ay wala ring working capital. At kung karamihan ng miyembro nila ay less than 100kWh ang konsumo, hindi sila makakasingil hanggang Disyembre.”
“To be able to help electric cooperatives sustain their operations, the government should allocate sufficient budget for the National Electrification Administration.”
To be able to help electric cooperatives sustain their operations, Hontiveros said that the government should allocate sufficient budget for the National Electrification Administration (NEA), the agency tasked to ensure rural electrification.
“Dapat siguraduhin nating kakayanin ng ating mga kooperatiba ang operational costs kahit na maraming miyembro ang hindi agad makapagbayad hanggang Disyembre,” she said.
“Kailangan nila ng suporta mula sa gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng tama at nararapat na badyet sa NEA. Dapat ay win-win para sa lahat,” Hontiveros concluded.