By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 11, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is switching to a digital platform starting this year to cope up with the changing business landscape and customer requirements.
The company anticipates customer and technological transformation among power utilities to keep evolving in the internet era, Meralco SVP Alfredo Panlilio said in his speech during the 6th Annual Meralco Luminaries Awards Night Thursday.
“For the customer, this means that for anything and everything you need from Meralco, you will be able to do online. This is the ‘digital pivot’ that Meralco is embarking on to transform the customer experience,” he said.
This transformation was first announced by Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan in 2015, when he said the power utility will be an “internet company with a power business.”
The digital transformation this year will start with the rollout of four digital platforms to improve customer experience, said Panlilio, who also heads Meralco’s customer retail services and corporate communications.
He said these platforms are called “I Join” which covers the application process; “I Pay” which offers online bills and payment system; “I Ask” which provides a mechanism where customers can give their feedback or inquire certain solutions; and “I Need Repair” where customers can seek restoration when systems are down.
“These are the four digital platforms we’re buildzng. As we go on to 2017, hopefully we could implement those. We expect one, “I Join”, to come in sometime the first quarter; “I Pay” sometime mid-year, and then “I Need Repair” sometime in the third quarter,” the Meralco official said.
These will be launched through the solution provided by Accenture and Salesforce, which were tapped by Meralco last year.
“What we’ve done last year, we have decided on a platform to launch our digital platform for customers and this is via Salesforce and Accenture. We have completed strategy, the business casing internally, we’ve also created [an execution plan] and we went through bidding process and we’ve finalized the solution and made our assessment,” Panlilio said.
Another part of Meralco’s digital transformation is putting up a new billing platform to meet all other customer requirements online.
“We’ve also applied with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a new billing platform that we would need maybe two to three years down the road to address all the requirements of our customers and more importantly, to offer new technologies and new offerings we see in the future,” Panlilio said.
“Meralco is earnest in transforming to propel the customer, the community and the country,” he said.