Pre-paid electricity: PECO to start with meter read and bill

PECOThe Panay Electric Company (PECO), Iloilo City’s sole power distributor, embarks another milestone in delivering quality service to the Ilonggos with the three-part scheme in power distribution.

Engr. Randy Pastolero, PECO Asst. Vice President said “The tripartite scheme includes the implementation of the by-meter read and bill system, automated-meter reading system and the implementation of the pre-paid meter in the city.”

P2.7-M worth of software for read and bill system using the Motorola MC 2180 Series rugged type mobile computer and Sewoo Thermal Printer will be utilized to have an easy bill reading and charging among customers.

PECO has signed contract with the Utility Solutions Incorporated (USI), a private corporation created to respond to the needs and requirements of a growing market that realizes and recognizes the advantages and benefits of a number of outsourcing specific services to third party service providers, specializing in Meter Read and Bill contract.

“The contract provides a training period for the personnel of the latter to familiarize the system which is expected to be implemented by July 1st of this year”, said Pastolero.

The Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System, on the other hand, lessens the burden ofthe consumers in reading their bills from elevated metering centers.

“We will replace the meters on elevated metering centers with AMR-capable meters so that clients need not to utilize boomtrucks or cranes in checking their meters,” he added.

AMR devices will transmit signal to the meters above thru radio frequency (RF). Each meter will have its signature RF that can determine the meter on top.

Pastolero discussed that according to their timetable, the handheld devices will first be implemented on the 1000 elevated metering centers in the metro.

Thirdly, the newest innovation in power consumption called the “pre-paid metering” or popularly known as “kuryentxt” will change the course of the traditional power allocation.

“The idea of this system is similar to cellphone loading. This time, you will only consume the amount of electricity which corresponds the denomination loaded to your meter”, he explained.

The device is an electric meter adaptable to the same meter socket that PECO uses only that it has a prepaid-meter technology that allows youto load up power thru a magnetic strip card.

PECO is targeting the consumers who have overdue and unsettled accounts in the company.

“This will give them the chance to renew their collection without having them to pay their accounts all at once. Payment arrangement will be agreed between PECO and the costumer”, Pastolero disclosed.

Pastolero said prepaid electricity scheme will help consumers to control their budget andeliminate legal accounts and reduce philpherage in the city.

PECO recorded a total of 75,000 costumers, 15,000 of whom have accountabilities.

The proposal will be implemented upon the approval of the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC).

MAYNILAD, MERALCO, and ILECO II in Pototan Iloilo have also initiated prepaid retail electricity system, also under USI. IMT