After suffering from slump on customer-payments at the height of the lockdown period in March to May, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) logged all-time high collection of P27.6 billion on its dispatched bills in September.
The company said it was the heftiest level of collection it achieved so far in this pandemic year – and that was equivalent to daily average collection of roughly P1.0 billion.
Meralco reported that online payments also jumped significantly in five consecutive months – reaching a peak of P1.3 billion.
During the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Meralco indicated then that its collection level – primarily in April – crashed to as low of just 4.0-percent of targeted total collections from customers.
Then with the gradual re-opening of the economy, its collection of bill payments also ramped up in recent months; until it reached its peak in September.
Nevertheless, the company indicated that they still have customers with arrears especially during the ECQ and the modified ECQ (MECQ) phases of lockdown – and these were part of the amortized payments warranted to consumers based on the rules set forth by the government.
The utility firm has also enforced a ‘no service disconnection’ policy to its subscribers who still have unpaid bills that accrued during the ECQ and MECQ periods – and that’s a leeway given to those in the 200-kilowatt hour consumption threshold until end-December this year as mandated by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
And for financially hard-up customers, Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga previously apprised the media that even if disconnection notices will be served to them, they can still make an appeal through the Meralco Business Centers for warranted flexible payment arrangements.
“Meralco remains liquid amidst the higher days sales outstanding (DSO), with the ERC ordering the extension or deferral of implementation of any service disconnection beyond the account due date,” the utility firm said.
It pointed out that the DSO had been stretched by about 47.04 days at the end of the first nine months of 2020 compared with 19.75 days in the same period last year.
At its affiliate CIS Bayad Center, it was emphasized that with the easing of the lockdown rules, the company “began to see a lift in its performance as bills payment transactions began to regain strength.”
For the third quarter of this year alone, Meralco noted that biller and partner-acquisition efforts “have resulted in the activation of 10 new corporate and digital channels, 13 new billers and 26 new branches.”
That then brought the total number of biller brands being served by CIS Bayan Center to 364, including bills for Meralco – and that similarly broadened its footprint to a total of 40,000 physical touchpoints.
“Digital transactions provided the steady growth of Bayad Center and accounted for 25-percent of the total bill payments transactions during the GCQ compared with a mere 10-percent pre-lockdown,” the company said.