Meralco eyes 2015 rollout of prepaid electricity

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2014 01:58 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2014 09:13 AM

MANILA - The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is looking to commercially roll out prepaid electricity by the first half of 2015.

The power distributor is targeting 40,000 households initially in the Metro Manila area after the current pilot testing for more than 1,000 households in Taytay, Cainta, and Angono in Rizal; and Sampaloc, and Tondo in Manila.

Ferdinand Geluz, Meralco's head for the central business area, said that based on the feedback he got from the consumers included in the pilot testing, there are savings of around 23-30 percent compared to the current monthly payment scheme.

Meralco brought journalists in Sampaloc, one of their pilot testing areas where a row of apartments have shifted to "prepaid kuryente."

One of them is the family of Archie Reyes, who said that from paying P3,000 before, his allowance for the same set of appliances is now down to P1,300 to P1,500. This amount translates to P40-P50 per day.

Reyes' neighbor Jess Barrientos now spends P1,500 for electricity supply from the previous P2,000 to P2,500.

Barrientos said ordinary consumers will not find it difficult to shift to prepaid as the system is easy as loading prepaid credits into a mobile phone.

A text message will tell the prepaid consumer that his load is only three days worth, which alerts him to reload.

A load retailer is also available within the community that caters to the prepaid consumers, but one can opt to go to the nearest Meralco branch to reload.

Meralco said that, so far, there are already 12,000 applicants interested in shifting to prepaid electricity.

While there are 40,000 households targeted for commercial rollout, Meralco said it will be asking the Energy Regulatory Commission to increase the number.