Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday called it a “good gesture” for the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to extend its no-disconnection policy for non-payment of electric bills until January 31, 2021.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco
(Lord Allan Velasco’s Office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The extended grace period being given to our fellow Filipinos during the holiday season will provide much needed reprieve to those reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic and natural calamities,” Velasco said in a statement.

“This good gesture on the part of Meralco will go a long way in helping our kababayans feel secure this Christmas,” he added.

The Marinduque lawmaker noted that it was actually him who requested the power distribution giant to give its non-paying customers more slack, considering the very tough circumstances this year.

Velasco had earlier written a letter to Meralco president Ray Espinosa requesting the utility giant to extend the no-disconnection policy for the entire Christmas season until end of January 2021.

“We appreciate that Meralco had extended the same courtesy during the height of the nationwide lockdown and we expect that the company will be as considerate this yuletide season,” Velasco stated in his November 30 letter.

In his letter response dated December 14, Espinosa informed Velasco that after “careful evaluation and in consideration” of his request, Meralco will extend its no-disconnection policy for non-payment of bills from December 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

Espinosa said the extended grace period will benefit more than three million Meralco customers with consumption of 200 kilowatt per hour and below during the billing month of December 2020.

The number represents around 47 percent of Meralco’s total customer base, according to Espinosa.

Velasco thanked Espinosa for “showing true bayanihan spirit and empathizing with the plight of our indigent countrymen.”

“This is how we overcome the devastating effects of this pandemic, with leaders from both private and public sectors working together to make lives better,” he said.

Velasco is a former chairman of the House Energy Committee.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/12/20/meralco-grace-period-extension-a-good-christmas-gesture-says-velasco/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=meralco-grace-period-extension-a-good-christmas-gesture-says-velasco)