BAGUIO CITY – Consumer-owners of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) can now avail of pre-paid electricity similar to what Metro Manila consumers from the Manila Electric Company following the putting in place of some 1,000 pre-paid electric meters to those who interested in availing of the new service.
Delfin Cachin, manager of BENECO’s Non-Network Services Department, said that consumers could avail of the pre-paid electricity through the payment of the pre-paid power cards that could be loaded to their meters or through the auto-load system that could be inputted through the internet and other mobile devices.
He said the meters for pre-paid electricity subscribers in lieu of the existing meters being read by meter readers is guaranteed tamper-free and is aimed at helping the rural electric cooperative reduce the systems loss.
Based on the initial survey conducted by BENECO on over 36,000 consumers on the acceptability of the use of pre-paid electricity, it turned out more than 93 percent of the surveyed consumers prefer the existing system of being supplied power in their homes and establishments while some 6 percent are amenable to trying the pre-paid power service and less than 1 percent remain undecided.
According to him, BENECO wants to pilot the use of the pre-paid electricity to its employees and to those who have signified their intention to avail of the said service once offered this July to test the efficiency and effectivity of the system for others to be convinced to patronize the use of the pre-paid system of being connected to the power distribution firm.
He said the pre-paid electricity is applicable to apartment owners who often encounter problems on unpaid and unsettled power bills with the rural electric cooperative that end up being settled by the lessors, thus, occupants of apartments will only be given the right amount of power to use during their temporary stay in the said facility.
The BENECO official disclosed the replacement of the meters of consumers wanting to avail of the pre-paid power service will be free and at the expense of the cooperative to guarantee that more consumers will be convinced to shift to using pre-paid electricity for their daily needs among others.
He explained the pre-paid power service is allowed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as one of the services to be provided by power distribution utilities to allow consumers to have the option whether or not to maintain the traditional metered system of availing of electricity from the service provider.
Cachin extended the invitation to interested consumers wanting to avail of the pre-paid power service to immediately coordinate with the office of the rural electric cooperative for the replacement of the existing meters of consumers for them to be able to avail of pre-paid electricity. BENECO has been classified as a triple A cooperative with a systems loss of 9.06 and consumers reaching over 150,000 for both residential and commercial consumers. He explained the introduction of the pre-paid service to BENECO consumers is one of the strategies to help the rural electric cooperative realize lower operational expenses while providing the consumers with quality service through a reliable system of distribution. /By Dexter A. See