THE consumer-owners of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) can now avail themselves of prepaid electricity following the installation of some 1,000 prepaid electric meters in the province.
Delfin Cachin, manager of Beneco’s non-network services department, said consumers could avail themselves of the prepaid electricity through the payment of the prepaid power cards, which can be loaded to their meters or through the auto-load system that can be done through the internet and other mobile devices.
Cachin 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, more than 93 percent of the surveyed consumers prefer the existing system of being supplied power in their homes and establishments while some six percent are amenable to trying the prepaid power service and less than one percent remains undecided.
Cachin added Beneco wants to pilot the use of the prepaid electricity to its employees and to those who have signified their intention to avail the service once offered this July to test the efficiency and effectivity of the system for others to be convinced and patronize the use of the prepaid system.
He said the prepaid electricity is applicable to apartment owners who often encounter problems on unpaid and unsettled power bills that end up being settled by the lessee, 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 said the replacement of the meters of consumers wanting to avail the prepaid power service will be free and at the expense of the cooperative to guarantee more consumers will be convinced to shift to using pre-paid electricity for their daily needs among others.
Cachin said the prepaid power service is allowed by the Energy Regulatory Commission 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 electricity from the service provider.
The 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 said 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. (PR)