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LKI 2020-047 on utilities meter reading

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AUGUST 5, 2020


Consumer Group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) called on regulators of both water and electricity, MWSS and ERC respectively, to actively seek the compliance of LGUs in allowing the utilities to proceed with meter reading activities. LKI stated “we urge the LGUs, particularly those under the MECQ, to allow the utilities’ meter readers with properly issued IATF passes, to conduct actual meter reading and enable the utilities to reflect and bill the consumer’s actual electricity and water consumption in order to avoid possible bill shocks. We need right now the complete support of both the regulators and the LGUs and barangay officials to make this work, for the benefit and welfare of consumers enduring through this ongoing MECQ.”

LKI President Atty. Vic Dimagiba said that it would be best that utilities like Maynilad, Manila Water and Meralco are allowed by their respective regulators and of course the LGUs covered by their franchise areas to “contiue their business operations, including most importantly meter reading, despite the enforcement of MECQ in Metro Manila and other areas covered by such utilties. Of course, it is vital, crucial and of utmost importance that these utuilities guarantee the strict implementation of protocols of the governmen’t IATF, to safeguard the health and safety of its customers. But given these precautions, it is the responsibility of regulator and LGU to allow and ensure that meter reading is executed and implemented smoothly to all residents so that they will be billed accurately and clearly.”

The consumer group specifically called out local government units and barangay officials “to recognize meter readers as among the essential workers granted permission to work amid MECQ, and allow them access to read meters of residences. LKI is confident that these utilities will not be obtrusive in their operations, and that all the deployed personnel will be wearing complete and full PPEs, and remain totally compliant with safety procedures. Priority remains the health and safety of our community and of our consumers, as well as the assurance that they are being billed based on actual meter reading.”

Dimagiba explained that “allowing actual meter reading is absolutely critical now as this will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly and accurately. Through this, we can rest assured that there will be no longer any more confusion about our utility bills, and the experience of bill shock will be prevented through these means. From here, we can move on to the new normal and hopefully the country can resume business as usual operations, even if we still experience periods of quarantine and lockdown. This is especially important for the economy to continue working, producing and growing, since the pandemic has already hit very hard, with a heavy impact on economy and our citizens.”