As a bedspace lessor in Taytay, Rizal for the past 10 years, Elenita became popular among students and young urban professionals because she charges a reasonable rent which already includes electricity consumption and other utilities. However, some boarders, particularly call center agents who jack up the air conditioners to be able to sleep during daytime, consume more electricity than the rest of the tenants.
Without having to ask the boarders to pay for electricity consumption, Elenita is thinking of having prepaid electric meters to be installed in her property, as soon as this service goes full throttle.
“Naiintindihan ko naman yung sitwasyon nila at ayoko rin namang maging pabigat sa kanila kapag tinaasan ko ang renta, kasi mga bata pa ang boarders ko at alam kong nagpapadala sila ng pera sa parents nila. Pero siyempre, para hindi ako malugi, dapat may control, may disiplina sa kuryente,” Elenita said.
Earlier last year, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has pilot-tested these “Prepaid Kuryente” meters in Angono and Taytay in Rizal Province. The service works similarly to a prepaid mobile phone service, in that the amount of load limits the amount of electricity that can be consumed. The difference, however, is that electricity load does not expire.
Aside from Rizal, two other provinces, Batangas and Leyte, have been pilot-tested for the prepaid electric meters.
Those in the Meralco franchise area who are interested to avail of the prepaid system should register with the electric company. Although the meter used for the prepaid service is different from the postpaid one, consumers need not pay for an installation fee.
It is also imperative that a working cellphone number, as well as back up mobile numbers be registered by the interested consumer with Meralco. This will enable Meralco to inform the prepaid electricity consumer via SMS that the load is nearing zero or that fresh load has been successfully added to the account.
Load can be purchased from Meralco Business and Bayad Centers, and selected retailers for a minimum amount of P100 to a maximum of P1,000.
Though the prepaid scheme for electricity might become more expensive for the users, bedspace lessors like Elenita might benefit from this. Should her boarders decide to leave unexpectedly, the burden of paying for their electricity bills will not become hers.
At present, more than 1,000 households in Rizal and Manila are using the prepaid meters. Meralco expects the consumer base to grow to 4,000 next year.
Images from ABS-CBN News, http://youtu.be/RcDo3lrA_BE