CUSTOMERS of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) may now pay their bills through M. Lhuillier, with a partnership sealed this week by both parties.
M. Lhuillier Financial Services, a subsidiary of the M. Lhuillier Group, is the eighth third-party collection agent (TPA) tapped by Veco to accept bills payments. Other TPAs include LBC, SM, Gaisano, 7/11, and several banks.
Veco President Jaime Aboitiz and M. Lhuillier President Michel Lhuillier sealed the partnership last Monday in Veco’s main office in Banilad, Cebu City.
Aboitiz said the partnership extends its service, not only to Veco customers, but also the other five utility subsidiaries of the company, which include Davao Light.
“So far (M. Lhuillier) is the biggest (third-party collector) in the group with its nearly 1,500 branches nationwide that will accept payments for Veco,” the power distributor said in a statement.
65% rely on TPAs
With the partnership, Veco revenue management department manager Bievenido Saniel III said there will be no transaction fees involved. Payments will be posted on the same day these are received. Both green and red Veco bills will be accepted. Also, full or partial payments are allowed.
“In the last five years, TPA preference (among Veco customers) has grown. (Payment through) TPA was only at 30 percent. Now, the situation has changed. About 65 percent pay through TPA and the other 35 percent pay through Veco establishments,” said Sebastian Lacson, Veco’s chief operating officer.
The official said the company is looking forward to more TPAs that will serve Veco customers. This means anyone, regardless of location, can pay their Veco bills through partner TPAs.
In the case of M. Lhuillier, finance services division manager Cecilia Lumapas said that even overseas Filipino workers in the US can opt to pay the electricity bills of their families in the Philippines. The remittance company has 14 branches in California.
M. Lhuillier has also sealed partnerships with other power distribution companies in the country.
Lumapas said that the bills payment transactions in M. Lhuillier contribute a small percentage to the business for now. However, the potential for growth is significant.
Lhuillier said his remittance company is going “very strong” in Mindanao and he aims to expand the number of branches to 2,000 soon.
With the growing number of Veco’s third-party collection agents, Lacson said there might be some changes in their Veco full-service centers.
For one, he said the company is considering to reduce its space in SM City Cebu.
The company is also pushing for the use of Internet services for bills payment. Veco has partnered with Union Bank, BPI Express, Metrobank, Bancnet and Megalink for online payment transactions.
“Over the long term, people will pay online. The online (payment for Veco) is already there, but the trust of online transactions in the country is still low,” Aboitiz said.