Manila Electric Company

Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is adopting new technologies to deliver enhanced customer experience and improve grid reliability as part of its digital transformation starting this year.

“Meralco has invested heavily in new technologies as we undergo a digital transformation of our company. We will soon be launching a whole new digital customer experience more suited to the next generation of customers – the digital natives. We are also developing mobility solutions and adding more sensors, automation, and smart meters to our network to improve reliability and enable the integration of renewables,” said Gavin Barfield, chief technology advisor at Meralco.

During the third Meralco Technology and Innovation Summit (MTECH) held last week, Barfield said the power distributor is looking to refresh its IT systems, deliver a digital customer experience and embark on the development of a “smart grid.”

While it has made great progress, Barfield said Meralco cannot afford to stand still in its digital transformation.

“Technology moves at a rapid pace and we must look at new disruptive technologies such as Blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, edge computing, robotics, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to deliver the next wave of improvements for our customers,” he said.

Part of this digital transformation will be started this year through the rollout of four digital platforms to improve customer experience.

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 will be launched through the solution provided by Accenture and Salesforce.

Another part of Meralco’s digital transformation is putting up a new billing platform to meet all other customer requirements online.

“The utility industry is changing and Meralco must adapt. We will continue our digital journey – expanding our products, services and solutions, and utilising the latest technologies to deliver an enhanced level of service. We must remain relevant to the customers of tomorrow,” said Alfredo Panlilio Meralco, senior vice president at Manila Electric Company.

Meralco embarked on its digital pivot this year to cope with the changing business landscape and customer requirements towards a digital future.

This is in anticipation of customer transformation as well as technological transformation among power utilities brought about by the world wide web.

This transformation was first announced by Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan in 2015, when he said the power utility would be an “internet company with a power business.”