Earlier, Ceneco officer-in-charge Jose Taniongon disclosed due to the ECQ, Ceneco had suspended its physical meter reading services from March 21 to April 15. Gamboa said Ceneco could have filed a petition to the ERC citing and questioning the deprivation of its consumers the due process in coming up with said estimation and averaging. According to Gamboa, Ceneco representatives justified their bill estimate or averaging without meter reading on the May 5 advisory of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), saying the present billings estimate should be based on the average consumers’ billing of three months immediately preceding the ECQ. Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. raised this concern in a recent public hearing. According to Gamboa, Ceneco was urged to conduct an actual meter reading. He decried these assumptions as a violation of Sec. O4 (i) and (u) of the Republic Act 11469, or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which mandates the provision of sufficient supply of power, fuel, energy and water to protect the people from profiteers, cartels, monopolies and other pernicious practices. He further explained that consumption of residential consumers would have increased considerably because of the lockdown; thereby computed said billings on the assumption of consumers’ prolonged stay at home resulting to higher rate or bill. However, Gamboa slammed these assumptions as “unfair, unjust and unequitable causing injury, harm and highly disadvantageous to consumers during these times of crises, adding to their burdens and misery.” BACOLOD City – Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), the city’s main power distributor, was yet again asked to explain its “projected estimate or averaging billing” without conducting a meter reading when the metro was under the enhanced community quarantine. Gamboa stressed that this is also the result of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), stating among others, that all “fixed cost” component of the generation and transmission charges, unused, unutilized, unnominated power are passed on to consumers which further resulted in the current power rate hikes for this period. “The March bill was estimated based on the previous three months billing in accordance with the guidelines set by the Energy Regulatory Commission. Meter reading recommenced on April 16 for the purpose of recording the actual kWh consumption and to correct possible under/overbilling in the estimated March bill,” Taniongon said. “In cases of over-billing, Ceneco is legally bound to refund or offset the amount in the next billing period without the need of actual, formal or expressed complain lodge against it,” the councilor said.