“No reading, no billing,” Senator Ralph Recto said saying “the simplest of formulas in computing utility usage is the most fair.”
“This is what water utilities should also use so they can avoid the public uproar which greeted one power utility’s guesstimate way of billing,” he added.
Senator Recto said this must be the rule across all utilities, so that in the event of another lockdown prompted by a second or a third wave of COVID-19 infections, there is a standard in place.
“In the future, when a prolonged lockdown prevents actual meter reading, then with the permission of government regulators, a bill corresponding to 50 percent of estimated usage may be preliminarily billed, with the note that the full amount, based on actual meter reading will follow. This is for the benefit of consumers who pay their bills online or are enrolled in automatic payment schemes,” he added.
“Needless to say, overbilling must be rectified automatically, and if payments have been made, the grant of refund,” Recto noted. “In the meantime, no service disconnection should be made while the bill is being disputed or has yet to be finalized.”