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No billing issues in homes using smart readers

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A SOLAR company reported that no complaints on electricity billings were raised from some households under a micro-grid system in Bulacan during the lockdown period as many power consumers in Luzon were shocked with their increased electricity charges this month.

In a statement, OneSunAsia, Inc. said some power consumers in Muson village in San Jose Del Monte are “confident” of the power billings they receive as they can monitor their kilowatt-hour consumption in real-time via smart readers.

“The smart meters in the community removed any uncertainties in the electricity billing,” Andrea Capellan of OneSunAsia said.

Housing cooperative ALPAS has partnered with the renewables firm to put up an advanced metering system in their housing projects.

Under a pre-paid system, residents were encouraged to conserve electricity, buying packets of electricity on demand based on their budgets.

“Consumers with limited income scheduled their laundry and general cleaning to match their utility budget. Especially among low-income communities, a pre-paid system heavily influenced their buying behavior, procuring only small packets of electricity when needed because of their limited budget,” Ms. Capellan said.

The company even noted that a majority of its customers did not avail of its electricity loan program in aid of those whose livelihoods are affected by the enhanced community quarantine.

“Majority of the customers refused to borrow and would rather buy what they can afford. The digital technology at hand saved them from a possible debt trap,” OneSunAsia said.

“It also reduced electricity usage because they were aware of the load balance real-time,” it added.

Many consumers have complained about the spike in their electricity bills this month as Manila Electric Co. started billing its customers this May based on current reading plus the average of their kilowatt-hour consumption in the past three months in lieu of the March and April billings.

The Energy Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy have since called on the attention of the country’s biggest distribution utility to explain its present charges to customers. — Adam J. Ang





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