Press Release
May 21, 2020

Tolentino allays fears of utility companies on 'Three Gives' proposal

Administration Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino allayed fear of utility companies that his so-called "Three Gives" proposal would lead to loss of income.

"We are not pushing for non-payment of bills, not waiver, not default, not abandonment of bills," Tolentino clarified during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship on his Senate Bill No. 1473.

"What we are after is only a slight delay in payment of consumers and small industries on their utility bills, electric, water or even telephone bills," he pointed out.

Tolentino's measure seeks to allow a scheme of three installment payments for electric, water and telephone bills during a state of calamity.

He insisted that utility companies would only have to wait before getting hold of the payments while consumers affected by calamities recover from its effects on their finances.

"Makukuha pa rin naman nila iyan nang buo. Mahahawakan din nila yung bayad, made-delay lang para mapagbigyan ang mga consumer na wala nang pambayad," said Tolentino.

Tolentino made the pronouncement after various utility firms expressed worry that the passage of the measure would lead to loss of income.

Other utility companies admitted that they are heavily dependent on the cash flow coming from the payments they receive from consumers.

Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Tolentino said various countries have taken steps in helping customer deal with their monthly billings for utilities.

In United Kingdom, all energy suppliers have agreed to emergency measures to help customers who are most at risk during the coronavirus crisis.

"Depending on the type of bill, they may be able to arrange a payment plan, or have schemes in place for people in financial hardship," Tolentino explained.

Italy, for its part, suspended the payments on electricity, water and gas bills until April 30, 2020 while Lithuania allows the installment payment for up to one year.

Canada has deferred electricity and natural gas bills until June 18, 2020 without any late fees or added interest payments, Czech Republic postponed energy payments for up to three months and Pakistan allowed three monthly installment payments on electricity bill without any late payment charges.

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