48-hour notice necessary before power service disconnection, SC tells Meralco


A PRIOR notice of at least 48 hours is required before the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) could implement a service disconnection order of a consumer.

This was declared by the Supreme Court (SC) as it denied the petition of Meralco assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) issued on November 26, 2020 which held that the electric firm violated RA 7832, or the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994, for cutting off the electricity supply of a consumer without prior notice.

The CA decision upheld the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela City, Branch 172, which ruled in favor of respondent Lucy Lu. Lu’s family owns the New Supersonic Industrial Corporation (NSIC) in Valenzuela City.

In her complaint, Lu claimed that on December 9, 1999, representatives from Meralco forcibly entered the premises of NSIC. 

After an inspection, the Meralco representatives issued a notice of disconnection and immediately disconnected the electricity supply of NSIC’s factory and their residence.

It was not mentioned, however, the reason for the disconnection of Lu’s electricity service. 

In denying Meralco’s petition for review of the CA’s decision, the Court ruled that before Meralco can disconnect the electric service of a consumer on grounds cited under Section 4(a) of RA 7832, there must be prior written notice to the consumer to disconnect. 

The notice, according to the SC, must be given at least 48 hours prior to the disconnection, pursuant to due process requirements.

Thus, it held that Meralco violated the due process requirements in this case.

Likewise, the SC affirmed the award of damages in favor of Lu in the amount of P150,000. 

The court has yet to release a copy of its decision. 

Sought for reaction on the SC ruling, Meralco, in a news statement said, “We have not officially received a copy of the SC decision. In any case, we will respect and abide by the said decision.” “We note that the incident in question happened in 1999. It has been Meralco’s policy to serve 48-hour prior notice before disconnecting any service to comply with the due process requirements,” the statement added. With Lenie Lectura