Hope shines bright as Meralco aids Phl in fight versus pandemic
Meralco, the biggest power distributor in the country, was never amiss in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
For the longest time, affordable rates have been a boon to millions of its consumers who are now faced with the crisis.
As of September, Meralco customers had benefited from five months of continued reduction in the overall rate adjustments—the lowest in three years, compared to the
rates since the same month in 2017. This owes to the fact that the generation charge had also decreased for six consecutive months.
Meralco invoked the force majeure provision in its power supply agreements, which totaled to about P463 million, or 17.10 centavos per kilowatt-hour per customer in the generation charge. For the past six months, such claims gave Meralco customers savings amounting to P2.4 billion.
The distribution utility has also waived the convenience fee on its online bills payment platform. The utility shouldered the cost, a fee of P47, which, as of 24 August, has already reached P30.4 million.
For the bills during the enhanced community quarantine, Meralco also came up with flexible payment schedules of up to six months with no interest charges on the
installments consistent with the Energy Regulatory Commission guidelines.
Meralco announced that it was also delaying the disconnection of services for customers with unpaid bills until 31 October to give consumers more time to get back on their feet to save enough to settle their accounts.
Keeping the lights
Meralco President and CEO lawyer Ray C. Espinosa expressed the distribution utility’s commitment as the company reinforces its service delivery during these critical times.
“We are keeping the lights on for our customers as we also provide for the safety and comfort of our employees,” he said.
And since Meralco prioritizes the customers’ convenience, consumers have been able to receive their monthly electric bills electronically for ease of payment, their monthly bills being available on e-mail or their Meralco Online account.
They could also pay via Meralco Online (https://www.meralco.com.ph/) or through its mobile app, where customers can use credit, debit and prepaid cards (PayMaya, Smart Money, and GCash) powered by Mastercard, Visa or JCB.
Meralco Online can accommodate Service Applications, Concerns/Inquiries, and Outage reporting. An outage map is made available to customers so that they can see forced and pre-arranged outages, as well as affected areas and the estimated time of restoration.
Meralco Online also provides energy efficiency tips for consumers.
Those who prefer physical business centers, they could be accommodated in Meralco offices.
Manned only by a skeleton crew, it augmented its manpower with “virtual customer assist” facilities to provide remote customer assistance via live teleconferencing, with customer service agents working from home.
Meralco has been with the private sector in its bid to survive the global health crisis, as commercial and industrial accounts under fixed-cost payment contracts, which
guaranteed minimum billing demand where a set amount has to be paid whether that electricity is used or not, were paid in actual. This translates to P2.69 billion in savings, providing financial relief to 87,728 small and medium enterprises and big-business served by Meralco.
Keeping to the company’s promise to keep the lights on for its franchise customers, around the clock, essential personnel from operations and services remain on standby duty inside the Meralco grounds and headquarters, ready for 24/7 dispatch in case the need arises. This has proven effective during storms, heavy rains where quick action led to fast power restoration.
More than alleviating the plight of its valued consumers, Meralco has been supporting the government’s initiative to convert venues into COVID-19 treatment facilities by providing free electrification.
Aid to frontliners
With the continuing threat of COVID-19, the country’s largest distribution utility still keeps in the heart the most important frontliners right now, especially the healthcare workers. Meralco has been active in supplying medical gear, such as protective personal equipment, hazmat suits, face masks and shields, and others to medical facilities and local government units since the national government’s first call to action.
“We are one with the government in providing support to our country’s front liners, as they care and nurse back to health those who are afflicted with COVID-19,” Espinosa said.
With the aid of Meralco’s corporate social responsibility arm, One Meralco Foundation, the Meralco’s electric transport systems, and vehicles were offered as free transportation to the frontliners.
Meralco recently energized the 525-bed Solaire-Pagcor mega quarantine facility, the biggest quarantine center in the National Capital Region that caters to Metro Manila, Bulacan and Calabarzon.
On a more macro scale, consumers have all assured a continuing supply of basic commodities because industrial and manufacturing plants and other factories are kept
operational by reliable, continuous power.
“Going beyond the power and light we deliver, this current crisis calls for us to be beacons of reliability and hope. We are keeping the lights on for our front liners and
affected Filipinos, and we are one with the government in overcoming this crisis,” Espinosa said.
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Puregold Mobile App helps you load your Globe, TM prepaid
Nowadays, everything can be done in the comforts of your home, with the help of the Internet — either you are doing your groceries or loading your phones.
Customers of Puregold have been saying goodbye to the hassle of long queues with the Puregold Mobile App powered by Globe Telecom.
Launched early this year, the app enables shoppers to safely buy their groceries online and also use features such as item barcode scanning or catalog selection, store pickup, and delivery.
And now, Puregold together with Globe launched the app’s newest feature – Buy Load — where you can conveniently load without leaving your home.
Whether you are an Aling Puring Member retailer who needs load for your store or an individual who needs personal load— be it regular load or prepaid promos such as Go or Homesurf, the app can serve your loading needs.
You may also buy your favorite Globe products – Globe or TM Prepaid SIMs, Call Cards, and Home Prepaid WIFI in the app. Customers may pay via Credit card, Debit card, GCash or via P-Wallet, Puregold’s very own in-app wallet.
“With the current situation, we want to help our customers to stay safe in their homes. By adding an in-app loading service with multiple payment options in the Puregold app, they can buy load credits anytime 24/7 anywhere they are,” said Puregold President Vincent Co.
The service is available anywhere in the country as the load will be sent from the app directly to your prepaid device.
“With the increase in work from home and learn from home set-up, having ready access to prepaid load and promos is as important as having basic necessities in the house. We want to give our subscribers another platform in the Puregold Mobile App to avail of their load needs so they can always stay connected,” said Globe President and CEO, Ernest Cu.
Download the Puregold Mobile App now from the Google Playstore or the App Store and experience convenience in grocery shopping and buying load and other Globe prepaid products.
P2.69B electric bill savings for businesses in the Meralco franchise area
A total of P2.69 billion electric bill savings has been provided to Manila Electric Company (Meralco) business customers, both small and medium enterprises, and large corporations during lockdown from 16 March to 31 August brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Meralco, the country’s largest power utility, has waived the Guaranteed Minimum Billing Demand (GMBD), its contribution to the government’s effort to keep the economy on track while battling COVID-19.
From 16 March to 30 June, Meralco, the country’s largest power utility waived the Guaranteed Minimum Billing Demand (GMBD) amounting to P1.906 billion for 87,728 business customers.
In July, GMBD suspension was extended to industries that have been allowed only parti
al operational capacity, or not allowed to operate, based on the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) GCQ Guidelines. This benefited 57,939 business customers with GMBD relief estimated at P513 million.
In August, further extensions were granted for industries that have been allowed skeleton workforce to 50% operational capacity, or not allowed to operate, based on updated IATF Guidelines and Department of Trade and Industry Memorandum Circular for MECQ. This benefited 28,463 business customers with GMBD relief estimated at P272 million.
By waiving the GMBD, Meralco, led by President and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, hopes this will help local businesses, from small to large, and keep the economy afloat.
In these challenging times, it’s important to reignite a cycle of prosperity: keeping businesses going, providing jobs, and contributing to the country’s taxes – all of which are essential to stop the economy from sliding further.
At a House committee on good government and public accountability on 24 August, Meralco announced its continuous efforts to provide financial relief to its customers, in addition to allowing customers to pay their electricity bills in installments.
Here are several of the company’s initiatives to do more than just keeping the lights on.
Force majeure amounts to total savings of P1.9B
Meralco had invoked since March the force majeure provisions in its contracts with power suppliers. This lowered generation charge and resulted in total savings of P1.9 billion, which the utility company has passed on to its customers in the form of lower power rates.
(Link RELATED: Expect Lower Power Rates in August)
Shouldering the P30.4M total convenience fees and P64M meter reading costs
The distribution utility emphasized that it continues to shoulder the convenience fee for Meralco Online transactions until the end of GCQ period. Convenience fees previously collected from 16 March to 15 July have been completely refunded already to customers. This covers 647,000 transactions amounting to P30.4 million.
In his update report, Espinosa also explained that meter reading costs not incurred during the ECQ and MECQ period have also been refunded beginning July 15, 2020, covering 6.7 million customers’ bills amounting to P64 million.
‘Lifeline customers’ discount totals to P101M
Meralco will provide a discount to the distribution charge collected from 2.77 million ‘lifeline customers’ or those who consume 100 kilowatts per hour and below as of February 2020. 40 percent of Meralco customers fall within this consumption bracket.
“We will be providing them relief equivalent to P101 million in the form of distribution charge discount,” said Atty. Espinosa.
No disconnections further extended
“In response to your request, I am now extending Meralco’s suspension of disconnection until the end of October to give more time to our customers to save enough to be able to pay for their bills,” said Atty. Espinosa in the same hearing.
Bulacan First District Representative Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado said that they have been working to extend Meralco’s grace period, but urged customers who are capable of settling their bills to take initiative to prevent the energy sector from collapsing, which can cause the economy to slide down further, “Personal po kaming nakikiusap… kung kaya natin magbayad, magbayad tayo. Dahil kapag bumagsak ang energy sector natin balik na naman tayo sa stone age… wala rin tayo magiging trabaho kasi sino naman ang mag-iinvest sa bansang Pilipinas kung wala tayong kuryente.”
(“We are personally and humbly asking for your consideration… if we can settle our bills, let’s settle them. Because if our energy sector crumbles, we will regress back to stone age… we also won’t have jobs because who would want to invest in the Philippines if we don’t have electricity.”)
Meralco continues to do everything in its power to help sustain the economy; from keeping the lights on, to keeping its customers and the country empowered.
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Aboitiz extends laptop subsidy, online assistance to scholars amid ‘new normal’
The Aboitiz Group, through its social development arm Aboitiz Foundation, has continued assisting nearly 860 students in secondary and tertiary levels in need of financial aid through its scholarship program amidst the disruption caused by the pandemic to education systems worldwide.
Aside from its usual financial assistance, the foundation allowed monthly allowances to be converted to laptop subsidy for students who have limited means to purchase tools for a ‘hybrid’ type or online schooling.
Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth L. Marasigan said the foundation has to innovate to provide relevant support to its scholars especially at this unusual time.
The Foundation recently launched the Aboitiz Scholarship Portal, a one-stop hub for its scholars that contains updates, advisories, learning materials, and a scholars’ profile dashboard. This innovation is how the scholarship program adapts to the new normal of doing transactions and engagements online.
“As the world continues to change due to the pandemic, Aboitiz Foundation also made its education programs adapt by establishing online platforms, and conducting online learning sessions that will keep our scholars stay connected, engaged, and informed,” she noted.
The Aboitiz scholars also gathered online for the Aboitiz Beyond Classrooms (ABC) Learning Series, the first virtual general assembly of its scholars last August 19. The event was attended by over 280 high school and college scholars in Metro Manila and Cebu via YouTube live stream.
”The session taught us to see weakness as our strengths and channel positivism in our mindset In whatever situations we face, we should always instill a positive and flexible outlook.” said Aboitiz scholar Jarixa Balbuena, an incoming Grade 12 student at Southwestern University.
The virtual general assembly aimed at strengthening the engagement of scholars, and prepare them in welcoming the new normal in their academic life. For this school year, the scholars attended a learning session with the topic “Building Resilience for a Flourishing New Normal” with Dr. Sheila Marie Hocson, the former President of the Philippine Guidance and Counselling Association (PGCA).
The webinar taught scholars to learn and capitalize on strengths that can help them navigate through online learning and studying at home. The participants were also asked to identify sources of inspiration that can be their anchor as they face the adversities and challenges brought by the pandemic.
“Thank you Aboitiz scholars for being so active and engaged in our discussion. You are very fortunate that you have your Aboitiz family who supports and gives interventions such as this online learning session that will guide you as you enter this new normal. By knowing your strengths, you can make the most out of your potential even in times of uncertainty,” shared by Dr. Hocson.
Since the Aboitiz Senior High School Financial Assistance Program started in 2003, it has benefited nearly 3,000 students nationwide, while the Aboitiz College Scholarship Program has supported 970 scholars since its inception.
Over the years, the Aboitiz Foundation has implemented various education programs including school building donations, upgrading of school facilities, scholarships and teacher training, and many other interventions that have benefitted over 39,0000 students in 2019.
Coppermask launches Ninja Ion personal air purifier
Negative Ions, also known as “Vitamins of the air” that reportedly increases physiological health, productivity, and over-all-well-being, is making waves in the health and wellness market.
Most air conditioners and air purifier brands not only include an anti-microbial filter but also equip their units with a so-called “negative ion generator”.
And what exactly the Negative Ions do?
Negative Ions are atoms having more electrons than protons, which usually generated either by high electrical discharge in the atmosphere by lightning or by the violent crushing of ocean waves.
That’s why your body feels relaxed, calm, and composed every time you step outside just after a thunderstorm or if you’re near an ocean.
Negative Ions also impact the quality of the air we breathe as reports showed that it helps people in relieving symptoms of allergies from dust, molds spores, and other allergens.
Because of these increasing information on the positive things that negative Ion brings, more and more negative ion air purifiers are coming out. Some of them are as big as suitcases while others are as small as a bread toaster.
With that, the Company that gave you the hottest Covid19 Pandemic protection essential Coppermask, has also launched Ninja Ion, a personal air purifier and portable negative ion generator which you can use to better safeguard yourself.
A three-inch size and only weighs 35 grams, this Personal Negative Ion Purifier packs a Powerful punch by releasing an industry-leading 200 Million Negative Ion count per second which will provide a maximum of one-meter radius protection for the user.
Easy to operate, USB Charging capable, and could last for at least 80 hours on one full charging.
Wear it like a necklace with a lanyard provided, and it will start to release those negative Ions giving you the protection you need where you need it.
The NINJA ION aids in purifying the air around the wearer would block common allergens and dust particles. It could also help clear out the smoke and other dangerous Particulate Matter (PM) floating in the air and helps deactivate certain bacteria and viruses.
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