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TO provide electricity to your home or place of business by securing a CFEI or Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection really takes a while. This is because of the multiple trips going back and forth to the municipal or city hall, making the task truly tedious and time consuming.

And it’s been made more difficult–and also risky–during this pandemic.

To help ease the burden of its customers, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) partnered with Local Government Units (LGUs) to help expedite the processes through the electronic Certification of Final Electrical Inspection (eCFEI) program.

The program allows for the electronic transmission of approved CFEIs from the LGUs to the Meralco.

The CFEI is a necessary document issued by the LGU, which should be submitted to Meralco to ensure that electrical wirings were inspected and found to be compliant with the provisions of the Philippine Electrical Code and other applicable government rules and regulations.

LGUs email the list of approved CFEIs and upon confirmation, Meralco notifies the customers that their CFEI has been approved.

Thus, trips to both city hall and Meralco Business Center (BC) are minimized and customers get their lights on faster with less waiting time and contact with people.

The eCFEI program is one of Meralco’s initiatives to streamline the process of getting electricity to its customers, and this effort supports improving the Philippines’ ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Annual Report.

And because the digital process has less room for intervention, the eCFEI program resulted to a surprise side effect: the reduction of falsified permits and CFEIs.

Now, we have an organized [process for] monitoring issued CFEIs, and we can easily detect falsified permits or certificates,” explains Engr. Marco Del Rosario, a supervisor at the Office of the Building Official in San Juan City.

eCFEI is currently being implemented in 27 LGUs (Central Area: Antipolo, Binangonan, Cainta, Manila, Pasay, Pasig, and San Juan; North Area: Caloocan, Calumpit, Malolos, Navotas, and Quezon City; South Area: Alaminos, Bacoor, Batangas, Calamba, Carmona, Dasmarinas, Imus, Las Piñas, Liliw, Naic, Parañaque, San Pedro, Silang, Sta. Rosa, and Tiaong), and the results have been very encouraging.

In the municipality of Tiaong in Quezon, for example, over 600 eCFEIs have been processed since May 5, 2021. This is more than 50 percent of CFEIs released in the same period in 2019 (285) and 2020 (229), and this has played a major role in maintaining social distancing in the area.

During this global pandemic, it is important to minimize face-to-face transactions,” says Mayor Ramon Abad Preza of Tiaong. “That is why the Municipality of Tiaong, Quezon supports the eCFEI Program of Meralco to promote and protect [our] health and safety.”

The success of the eCFEI program has also led to more cities and municipalities being eager to participate. The One Meralco Foundation (OMF) has also donated computers and scanners to selected LGUs to help in their shift to the digital process. To date, OMF has provided 18 pieces of equipment to 9 LGUs for the eCFEI program.

Aside from the eCFEI, Meralco had already been pushing initiatives to digitalize its processes prior to the pandemic.

Since 2018, customers have been able to request their Service Applications (SA) through Meralco Online (MO), the company’s online services portal. The capability was introduced to help manage the volume of customers that visit BCs, encouraging them to use Meralco’s digital channels for initial contact.

In 2020 alone, 121,950 SAs lodged via MO were fulfilled and submitted. Compared to 88,697 SAs filed as of mid-2021, that’s a 45-percent increase in SAs processed through MO or equivalent to 200,000 homes and businesses that were able to apply for electrical connections without having to line up in a crowd.

Meralco is continuously improving SA through MO, with a vision to create an end-to-end online service application process.

The eCFEIs and online SA demonstrate Meralco’s passion for service, to make the customer’s electrification journey truly digital, while being simple, fast, and convenient. Both can be accessed at any time, from any place with internet access. More service innovations are in the pipeline,” promises Ferdinand Geluz, First Vice President – Customer Retail Services and Chief Commercial Officer of Meralco.

MAIN PHOTO (from left): Meralco AVP and Head, North Business Area, Wilfredo Baetiong; Malolos City Mayor Hon. Gilbert Gatchalian; Malolos City Engineer and Building Official Engr. Ricasol Millan; Malolos Business Center Manager Arnaldo Punay.

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