Published: Thu, March 13, 2014
By Kristine de Guzman
From prepaid cellular phones to Internet connection and now, prepaid electricity.
The prepaid "Kuryente Load" of the power distributor Meralco may just be the answer to avoiding the shock of a huge bill and the hassle of power disconnection due to delayed payment.
The program is still in its early stages and is only available in Taytay and Angono in Rizal.
For Meralco customers in the pilot areas who switch to prepaid, the process is simple: visit a Meralco branch, fill-out an application form, present a valid ID, and pay an initial load amount of P200. Additional documents will be required of non-Meralco customers.
After 3 to 5 days, Meralco technicians will replace the customer's existing meter.
Meralco Corporate Communications Director and Spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga says there are no hidden charges for the consumer.
For adding credits, customers may top up at Meralco business centers, Bayad Centers, as well as cell phone load retailers for as low as P100 to as much as P1,000.
Kuryente Load has no expiration, so customers can use their electricity only when needed.
Meralco will send a daily update to registered cell phone numbers to remind customers of their credit balance.
For landlady Teresita Esguerra, Kuryente Load is a welcome development as it will help better monitor the electricity consumption of her tenants.
Esguerra, who owns an 8-door apartment, says she doesn't have to worry about excessive billings as her tenants will be paying directly the electricity consumed.
In addition, she doesn't have to pay if there is no occupant in the unit.
Noemi Menodia says she availed of prepaid electricity after having no electricity for eight years.
Menodia says it helps her manage the family's expenses since her husband earns on a weekly basis.
Menodia says a P200 credit lasts for more than a week, and she plugs in a refrigerator, television, laptop, and electric fan daily.
Meralco hopes to roll out the program for its entire franchise area this year.
As of now, there are 125 Meralco customers using prepaid electricity, while there are at least 1,000 pending applications for the program.