Gatchalian calls on Meralco to scrap P47 online payment ‘convenience fee’

Image from Senator Win Gatchalian's Facebook page
  • Gatchalian asks Meralco to scrap P47 transaction fee
  • This after Meralco announced it will resume collecting the amount from online transactions
  • The lawmakers also urges ERC and BSP to look into fees being charged by third-party application

Instead of charging a ‘convenience fee’, Meralco should instead ‘incentivize’ its customers who are moving into online transactions; this was according to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

In a press release on Monday, June 15, the lawmaker hit Meralco’s plan to resume collecting P47 transaction fee from consumers who will continue to use its online application for payments after business and payment centers across Metro Manila reopened after the area shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ).

Image by KDN

 “The 47 peso-convenience fee is a disincentive for consumers moving online. Why will Meralco resume collecting 47 pesos from every household when many of our ordinary kababayans have just returned to work trying to recover financial losses? This should not happen! The public has been inconvenienced enough,” said the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.

Earlier, Meralco waived the P47 transaction fee for online bills payment and promised refund for those who have already paid during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), between the period of March 16 and May 15.

It has since announced it will resume charging the same transaction fee after the lockdown was eased.

Image from Sen. Win Gatchalian’s Facebook page

But Gatchalian reminded the giant power distribution company that the threat of COVID-19 still remains and this  is precisely the reason why online payment is encouraged to discourage people from going out of their homes.

“We don’t want other distribution utilities to get an idea in coming up with a similar setup, to the detriment of power consumers. We don’t want to create undue stress to our consumers,” Gatchalian said.

Image by KDN

Meralco explained earlier that the P47 ‘convenience fee’ does not actually go to them but rather to the online payment services provider used by consumers in making online transactions.

This prompted Gatchalian to call on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to look into these fees being charged by third-party applications.