A few days ago, I watched a TV news advisory from an unlikely source - Meralco.
For those who were not able to see it, the advisory explained the reasons behind this month's rate adjustment. Complementing that, a tips segment was added, to help inform viewers on how they could better manage their energy consumption.
This was a bold move from the utility firm considering that their monthly advisory debuted with a rate increase. I have been a corporate and marketing communications professional for many years, and instincts would tell me that it is rather risky for a company to issue a statement that could antagonize the public when it could just have kept mum on the issue, which is what other utilities do.
But what Meralco did was unthinkable (in a good and noble sense). Instead of keeping quiet, it volunteered to announce that there would be an upward adjustment in the bills of electricity customers.
As a former practicing professional in the communications business, I thought this may be an interesting case study for students of communication. On second thought, Meralco may have actually done not only the right thing, but the smart thing as well.
By being forthright with its customers on the issue, Meralco proved its willingness to be accountable and transparent to its customers. More than that, though, it gave the power company an opportunity to educate its customers.
Upon watching the advisory, I learned that the rate adjustment for June was due to an increase in the generation and transmission charges, and that our payments for these accrue to the generation and transmission companies.
As said earlier, Meralco didn't stop at just mentioning the rate adjustment - they gave very practical and helpful tips, too. In the advisory I saw, they plugged the Meralco app called the Meralco Virtual Engine or MOVE, which is an app suite containing various apps, one of which is what they call the Appliance Calculator or AppCal.
Through the AppCal, I have learned that customers may be able to compute for the consumption of an appliance on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis.
I have actually downloaded the free MOVE app and asked the other members of our household do the same, so together, we could better monitor our power consumption at home. I would advise you my dear readers as well.
Perhaps, other utility companies may want to look into doing something similar for their customers. The Meralco advisory is a breath of fresh air in that it gives customers first-hand information on things they should know. In that way, they are not left confused amidst differing, and sometimes conflicting, reports from various sources. Moreover, the likes of the Meralco advisory empowers customers to make informed decisions. As an old adage goes, information is king. And it seems Meralco knows that to them, indeed, the customer is King.