BAGUIO CITY – The local legislative body commended the various public utility companies operating in the city for extending the deadline for the payment of the accumulated power, water, telephone, internet among other bills of their consumers and subscribers during the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
In Wednesday’s special session, the council invited representatives of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), Baguio Water District (BWD), Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company, Smart, Globe and other public utility providers to divulge the cations that their companies have undertaken on Resolution No. 268 requesting public utility companies to extend the payment of bills of consumers and subscribers that were accumulated during the ECQ.
Local legislators stated that the immediate actions that were embraced by the companies in extending the deadline for the settlement of the bills of their consumers and subscribers will definitely contribute on the overall efforts to help the heavily impacted sectors to recover from the wrath of the global pandemic that virtually forced the economy to a slump.
BENECO Institutional Services Department (ISD) Manager Atty. Delmar O. Cariño informed local legislators that based on the latest advisory from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), consumers with a consumption of 200 kilowatt-hours and below bases on their February bill will be given 6 months to settle their unpaid power bills during the ECQ while consumers with a consumption of 201 kilowatt-hours and above will be given 4 months to settle their accumulated power bills during the quarantine period.
Further, BENECO provided a subsidy to most of its consumers amounting to over P15 million where consumers having a consumption of 30 kilowatt-hours and below in April were not charged of their power bills, those who were able to consume 31 kilowatt-hours up to 100 kilowatt-hours in April were given a uniform discount of P100 that was automatically deduced from their power bills while those who consumed some 101 kilowatt-hours up to 200 kilowatt-hours in May were given the same discount.
Cariño also informed the council that the BENECO board and management is currently studying the possibility of granting subsidy to consumers that had a monthly power consumption of 201 kilowatt-hours and above during the ECQ where the details will be released as soon as there will be available funds to cover the said assistance.
For BWD, the management disclosed that it is allowing consumers at least 30 days to settle their water bills without the prescribed surcharges to help ease the burden of people who were heavily impacted during the implementation of the ECQ.
Smart and Globe representatives also claimed that their respective companies came out with reasonable installment plans for their post-paid, data service line (DST), broadband and other subscribers where they are given a maximum of 6 months to settle their bills without being disconnected or imposed surcharges.
The local legislative body expressed its gratitude to the companies for extending whatever reasonable assistance to their heavily impacted consumers and subscribers because of the need for them to cope with the effects of the ECQ to the economy and the sources of livelihood of the people.
By Dexter A. See