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Customer focus drives undeniable results

November 14, 2016 7:00 AM

Category: Happier Subscribers Pricing Innovation | by Stefan Henss

Meralco’s prepaid electricity service customer base is growing at a rapid pace, so far, adding over 11,000 connections since the start of 2016.  Three years after the initial pilot, Meralco now has over 28,000 meters running on prepaid electricity.  In a study by a third party research agency, Prepaid Electricity registered a high 90% satisfaction rating among its early adopters.  Customers cited several factors – including the affordability of low denominations, the daily balances SMS notifications, and the convenience of reloading from regular mobile retail outlets – as highlights of the prepaid electricity user experience.  Not as popular, but equally impressive, was Meralco’s online self-service portal, for customers interested in obtaining their most recent usage information on-demand.

Not content to simply replicate the program as they enter the next phase of AMI expansion – expanding to 140,000 households in Manila – Meralco conducted a concept test to identify improvements to the program directly from its users. 

For a service provider, it’s equally important for business strategy to address the needs of the customer today as it is to look 10 years into the future.  Thinking to relieve growing pressure on the grid and help customers upgrade their lifestyles without severe bill shock, Meralco puts a lot of effort into educating their customers about being energy efficient.  The Meralco Power Lab is one example of this effort; its aim is to change attitudes towards efficiently managing appliance use – by rating appliances for energy efficiency and showcasing a modern energy efficient home.

In the more immediate short term, Meralco has to contend with large fluctuations in energy demand, nearly on a day-to-day basis.  For Meralco, it is important to be able to quickly turn around new pricing schemes and flexible tariffs monthly for the customer base.  This agility is highly advantageous to support demand-side management, reducing peak load and balancing energy consumption across the power grid.  Redknee’s Smart Prepay Energy solution is based on connected (thin) smart meters. This virtual prepay solution has proven to be a perfect fit for dynamic energy markets where electricity rates changes frequently.

Mr. Tony Valdez, Meralco’s Vice President & Head of Marketing, Customer Solutions & Product Development, emphasizes that customer centricity is a focus of Meralco’s core values.

“My job is to formulate services that fit hand-in-glove to what (consumers) need, and then to communicate it in a way that they understand.  That is a challenge for most utilities.”

To learn more about Redknee’s role in Meralco’s Prepaid Electricity Service project, stay tuned to the next blog post in the series, read the previous post, or contact us at Sales@Redknee.com.

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