MANILA, Philippines — After announcing that it is increasing the rates of electricity this summer in Metro Manila to compensate the loss of profits during last month’s Earth Hours activities; Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is now offering discounts and rebates to consumers when they buy air conditioning units.
Upon checking your Meralco bill this month, you will notice a leaflet containing details of the said promo. “Beat the heat with our air con treat,” it says. After that, the flyer shows a mother and her son in a joyful cuddle with the phrase, “Did you know that using an air con costs as low as P5/hour*?”
The promo states that consumers get up to P2,000 discount plus P3,500 installation subsidy and P500 Meralco bill rebate. Said promo is from April 5 to May 31 of this year. “It’s our way of saying thanks to the gullible Filipinos that have stayed with us through our ups and downs,” said Meralco’s Customer Relations Representative, Kurt Yenteng.
Consumer watchdog group Kontra Lokohan ng Kumpanyang Overpricing at Yabang (KOLOKOY) spokesman Ponciano Soledad noticed that this offering is similar to the one the company introduced last December when they offered free high-powered Christmas lights to consumers.
Meralco customers will receive an unexpected gift on their monthly billing statement before the start of the holiday rush, a company spokesman said.
It won’t be in the form of price cuts or refunds, consumers will instead receive a set of Christmas lights from the electric company by using the included coupon on their monthly billing statement and claiming the gift at the nearest Meralco office. (from So, What’s News. Full story here)
Yenteng was quick to point out the flaw in the statement on the flyer, saying that it should say “Did you know that using an air con used to cost only P1/Hour last year?” Yenteng also suggested reading the fine prints as these promos tend to have lots of asterisks (*) and double asterisks (**).
“It’s like they are mocking consumers with their so called promotion! The nerve!!!” said a resident who recently received their monthly bill. “Magtataas sila ng singil, tapos ngayon oofferan nila tayo ng diskwento sa aircon? Eh kung diskwento nalang sa singil sa kuryente (After hiking their rates, they will now offer us discount on aircon? Discounted rates on electricity would’ve been better)?!” said another. One bystander refused to comment and just gave a hot-tempered “GRRRRR!!!!”
Indeed the heat of summer is affecting the temper of Filipinos in Metro Manila, and mocking them with in-you-face promos certainly doesn’t help boost an electric company’s consumer friendly image.
Not unless you are the ONLY electric company in the Metro.