Customer payments in the digital platform of power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) significantly climbed by 161 percent to P60.3 billion as of end-September this year, versus a leaner P50.6 billion in a comparable period.

In particular, Bayad, which is the payment service arm of Meralco, is now servicing at least 433 billers; and the latest addition to that had been 76 new billers.

Since its launching in January this year, the Bayad App already recorded more than 124,400 downloads in the first nine months; while Bayad online had logged 29,531 registered users.

“Meralco’s digital transformation continued to gain traction as daily cash collections from online platforms rose,” the utility firm said, noting that the marked increase had been registered both on its web and mobile app platforms.

On a monthly basis, Meralco collections from digital payments had been placed at P942.5 million. For the January-September period this year, digital payments already hit P8.5 billion, reflecting a 28 percent increase from year ago level.

Given the restrictions wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Meralco has reinforced its digital payment platforms so consumers can have safer channels in settling their bills.

The company also continued to introduce more options that allowed customers to safely and remotely discuss their concerns with customer care representatives, Meralco said.

“Besides ramping up the capacity of the groups handling concerns, Meralco also enabled live chat and video conferencing options on its website and mobile app to serve as alternative customer touch points,” Meralco added.

And to help Meralco customers understand their bills in an easier way, the company also rolled out a new and improved electricity bill format – and that features an upsized page “for improved readability, a more prominent design on payment and account details, an expanded 24-month consumption chart, a daily and monthly average consumption tracker, as well as detailed payment history.”

The utility firm conveyed that its ‘Sustainability Agenda’ is embedded as well in the new bill “by providing customers with information on the environmental impact of their electricity usage.”

As the country wades through the hurdles of the lingering pandemic, Meralco noted that it “provided a balanced operational response to ensure uninterrupted and reliable electricity service, while remaining sensitive to the challenges faced by customers.”

Apart from suspending disconnection activities when Covid-19 movement restrictions were tightened, the power company is similarly extending ‘installment plans’ to customers who are unable to pay their bills in full.

Owing to the payment leeway granted to certain customers, Meralco indicated that its account receivables under installment arrangements stood at P1.8 billion as of end September this year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (