BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Both the Central Negros Electric Cooperative and the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative announced over the weekend that they will temporarily suspend the collection of dues from lifeline member-consumers, effective next month.
Danny Pondevilla, manager of Noneco and also the acting manager of Ceneco, said this is pursuant to the recent mandate of the Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Pondevilla said the non-collection of payments is only applicable to Ceneco consumers, whose electric consumption, does not exceed 50 kilowatt hours.
He said the no-collection policy also applies for Noneco members, whose electricity usage is less than 25-kilowatt hours.
Pondevilla added that government agencies and government-owned-and-controlled corporations are also exempted from the no-collection policy.
The DOE directed electric cooperatives to implement a “no-disconnection policy” for non-payment of bills falling due March 2021 of electricity consumers, whose consumption level is within the lifeline rate.
The mandate said that the lifeline rate is set by the Energy Regulatory Commission for the electricity distribution utility franchise area, adding that this should apply to all unpaid regular bills and installment payments.
All electricity consumers, both lifeline and non-lifeline, who are still unable to pay may coordinate with the electric utility firms to enter into a socially equitable and manageable payment terms to prevent eventual disconnection. The DOE stressed that consumers, who are capable of paying their bills within the original due dates, should do so to help manage the cash flow in the energy supply chain and ensure the continuous supply of electricity.*