Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has been extending “cost-saving solutions” primarily to its business customers to trim their electric bills as they strive to bounce back from the financial wreck of the niggling coronavirus pandemic.
According to Meralco Vice President and Head of Utility Economics Lawrence S. Fernandez, businesses served by the utility firm within its franchise area logged savings of aggregate P3.2 billion in their electric bills because of the guaranteed minimum billing demand (GMBD) program availed of by more than 95,000 customers that are mostly small and medium enterprises.
The Meralco executive explained that “during the pandemic last year when the community restrictions were at the strictest and businesses were not allowed to operate, Meralco provided payment relief for businesses that were not able to meet their guaranteed minimum billing demand.”
Fernandez noted that for their business-customers to be properly apprised of such cost-relief mechanism, Meralco “has been directly contacting businesses and meeting with them to see what assistance Meralco can provide, such as doing energy audits or right-sizing their contracts.”
While the country wades through the affliction of the health crisis, the power firm said it also reinforced its involvement in “providing business customers with more sustainable solutions that will help them moving forward as they recover from the pandemic.”
Apart from the GMBD solution for businesses, Meralco likewise aided financially-challenged customers on a broader perspective via the series of deferments on its service-disconnection, especially when the capital and neighboring provinces were placed on tight lockdowns – such as during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ and granular lockdowns in various areas covered by its service domain.
As stated by Meralco Vice President for Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga, the power firm “is probably the only utility in the county that suspended service disconnection the longest.”
That initiative was enforced, he specified, as “we understand the need for electricity when we were all asked to limit mobility and stay at home, so we did what we can to help – which is to continue serving with quality and reliable electricity service 24/7.”
Allowing installment payments had been the other sphere in which Meralco has been trying to help its customers – chiefly those who cannot settle their bills in full either due to reduced income or loss of employment.
Based on the company’s data, the magnitude of Meralco subscribers who availed of installment payment arrangements (IPAs) topped 230,000; and bulk of that had been residential end-users.
“We continue to collaborate with the entire industry in ensuring that there will be no disruption of supply. Those who requested for payment extensions, even beyond what was ordered to us by the regulator, we made sure that customers who needed time to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic were supported and assisted,” Zaldarriaga stressed.