Philippines prepayment plan hits a snag


Cebu, The Philippines — (METERING.COM) — October 20, 2008 – Plans by the Philippines second largest utility Visayan Electric Company (VECO) to install a prepayment system have been put on hold, principally because of costs.

Jaime Aboitz, COO if VECO, was quoted as saying that the company had not yet found an affordable electric meter which could make the scheme feasible for consumers.

According to Aboitz the meter cost that VECO is looking for is P2,000 (US$42), which is less than half the going cost of P5,000 (US$104).

However, the plan is still in place and the company is working with the regulator to develop a framework for prepayment.

VECO was intending to introduce prepayment for the approximately 80,000 customers who consume only 50 kWh of power a month and for those who are often in arrears, and on a voluntary basis for other customers.

The prepaid metering system is one of a number of innovations being introduced by the utility. Recently VECO introduced an electric bill in braille for customers who are blind.

VECO serves more than 275,000 customers in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay and five municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu.