Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday asked the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) to issue an order for power utilities to allow staggered payment for consumers amid the sudden spike in electricity bills.

In a radio interview, Gatchalian noted that this has been done during the Covid-19 pandemic, when power consumers were given a grace period to pay their bills in installments without interest, penalties, and other additional charges.

“Bigyan ng option ang mga consumers natin na magbayad ng staggered payment. Noong pandemic, natatandaan ko, umabot pa nga ng mga two or three months yung staggered payments (Give our consumers the option to make staggered payments. During the pandemic, I remember, the staggered payments even took two or three months),” Gatchalian said.

“Habang staggered, obviously, huwag munang putulan ng kuryente at yung ating mga consumers huwag ding i-charge ng interest payments (While staggered, obviously, there should be no disconnection of power and consumers should not be charged with interest payments).”

Gatchalian noted that the sudden increase in electricity bills will affect a lot of power consumers who allot fixed budgets for their monthly expenses.

He also revealed that even his own household had an almost 50 percent increase in electricity bill, due mainly to the hot season.

During the height of the pandemic, the ERC encouraged customers who can pay their electricity bills on time to do so to help energy companies with their cash flow.

The Commission also urged companies during that time to provide incentives for early payments. (PNA)