Reprieve from payment of penalties of utility bills sought
20 March 2020 – The City Council approved a resolution requesting public utility companies operating in the city to grant a reprieve in the imposition of surcharges and penalties on the unpaid bills of their customers during the period of ongoing implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The resolution was authored by city legislators that actively participated in the recent special session called for the purpose of aligning the city government’s actions on how to appropriately deal with the serious negative effects of the enhanced community quarantine following numerous complaints from residents in the city’s 128 barangays impacted by the virtual absence of mass transportation and those who are on the brink of losing their daily income from the closure of businesses and other sources of livelihood.
Earlier, residents appealed to the city government for assistance by convincing public utility companies to extend to them the reprieve in the payment of their bills for the current billing period considering they cannot go out of their houses to settle their bills on time due to the strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.
City legislators called on the public utility companies operating in the city like the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO), Baguio Water District (BWD), Sky Cable, Converge ICT Solutions, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and other telecommunication companies to understand the current predicament of the people and reprieve clients of the surcharges and penalties being imposed on unsettled bills after their due dates.
Previously, BWD came out with a Facebook post informing its customers that starting March 17 to April 12, 2020, payment of water bills can be transacted at the BWD main office at Utility Road, Marcoville and that other remote payment centers will be temporarily be unavailable.
Further, March water bills will have an extended payment period of 30 days from the due date indicated in the water bill and that no surcharges will be imposed and that new water applications will resume on April 13, 2020, disconnection of water services were suspended while reconnection of water services will continue upon settlement of the arrears.
On the other hand, BENECO issued a similar advisory informing member-consumer owners that with the recent declaration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine and supported by a similar issuance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the due date for the March electricity bills will be extended for one month from the due date indicated in the said bills.
Moreover, BENECO’s Maharlika and Porta Vaga collection centers will be temporarily closed during the prescribed quarantine period but consumers can still pay at the accredited collection and Bayad centers and not to await for the extended due date in the settlement of their power bills. - Dexter A. See