Content: Front Page

Primary Content

How Meralco Will Make Bill Payments Even Easier

Commenting is disabled.

On April 8, 2014 I wrote out my frustration about failing to pay my electricity bill – I discovered it saved as draft, unpublished.

Now, here it is – has anything changed?

Meralco + BPI Express Online = Fail

It’s the start of the month again, I logged in to BPI Express Online to pay my Meralco bill. But I remembered that Meralco updated the Account Number of my account making my current enrollment in BPI invalid. Countless times, I tried to enroll my new Account Number to no avail.

Meralco + BPI = Fail

So, I went to a nearby BPI branch to pay the bill. But lucky me, the teller said that they don’t accept overdue payments. You know, when you’re paying the bill past the due date stated on the bill? I looked at my bill and drat, yes, due date was yesterday – April 6, Sunday.

Meralco + LBC = Fail

I headed to an LBC across the street – still, they don’t accept overdue payments. It’s as if Meralco automatically becomes unlisted in their roster of “accepted bills” after the bill’s due date.

Meralco punishes you for not paying on time

Apparently, overdue payments are only accepted at Meralco Business Centers. So I remotely asked my wife to pay the bill at the nearest business center. It was near, all right and if she had free time. But the line was long – like 45-minutes long. That night after work, I dared myself to come home.

Online payments = FTW; Old Business Centers = WTF

Let me clarify – old business centers as the only acceptable payment center is WTF.

The main benefit of online payment of bills is that wherever you are, whatever you do, you can make the payment. It goes the same with Third Part Agents (TPAs) such as banks (BPI, BDO) and payment centers (LBC, Bayad Center) – chances are they are just around the corner, competing for customers like us. Unlike the handful Meralco Business Centers that would require you to book a flight to get there.

The Problem

Meralco does not have a well-rounded grace period in bill payments. After the stated due date, it then limits you to paying only at any of their Business Centers. But chances are, there’s only one in your area. And like I said, one must take a trip to reach it.

The Solution

Don’t limit customers who are so willing to pay their bills – anywhere, anyhow they want.

I interviewed Meralco’s customer service via Facebook Messenger and found out about their schedule from meter reading to billing to letting you live by the candlelight.

The person behind the screen also explained the reason behind the problem: it takes 3 days for TPAs (third party agents like BPI, Bayad Center) to report the payment to Meralco – and I assume, if they didn’t have some kind of ban, by the time Meralco receives your payment, you already duped them into thinking that you deserved that glowing television light despite being an overdue payee.

Let’s see how Meralco could afford being forgiving by allowing TPAs to accept late payments (with a grace period, of course).

I dub it the Meralco Billing Schedule (this is the normal process as I calculated it):

  • March 27: Meter reading
  • March 30: Bill delivery – 3 days after meter reading
  • April 6: Bill due date – 7 days after bill delivery or 10 days after meter reading
  • April 9: Notice of disconnection – 3 days after bill due date
  • April 15: Order of disconnection – 6 days after notice of disconnection

As you can see, there is a total of 9 days before the SWAT comes barging in your front yard and disconnecting you from a line more important than online.

Meralco could still afford to let TPAs accept payments up to 3 days after issuing the notice of disconnection (April 12). That will leave the required 3 days of TPA reporting of payments.

I talked to a colleague a month ago – he’s working on a bill payment system wherein Meralco is one of the billers. To my surprise, it is still fashionable in this day and age to prolong the suffering of people already without TV and fridge.

How I prevented this anomaly from happening ever again? I enrolled all my bills in Citi One Bill.

Of Oddness and Obsolescence – Twilight Zone No. 153

Commenting is disabled.

The Brain Center at Whipple’s

Twilight Zone - 153 - S05E33 - 1964_05_15 - The Brain Center at Whipple's

Technician (T): Mr. Whipple, have you looked around this place lately?

Mr. Whipple (W): Looked around?

T: The cafeteria, for example. It’s like a cave. Not a soul in there. Just a few vending machines and music coming thru a loud speaker. You walked around the parking lot? It’s a dessert. No cars, no people.

W: How very enlightening!

T: This place has every thing now in the way of efficiency. But do you know what it lacks?

W: Don’t tell me.

T: Voices. Laughter. Just whatever it is that makes people feel for people. That’s what it lacks! This is a lousy place to work in, Mr. Whipple.

(Excerpt from the dialogue of Mr. Whipple and the Technician.)

Closing Narration:

There are many bromides applicable here. Too much of a good thing, tiger by the tail, as you sow so shall you reap.

The point is that too often, man becomes clever instead of becoming wise. He becomes inventive but not thoughtful. And sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Whipple, he can create himself right out of existence.

Tonight’s tale of oddness and obsolescence from the Twilight Zone.

~ Rod Serling

IMDb

Wikipedia

AIM – Ideaspace Entrepreneurship Development Program – Day 1

Entry Comments Actions

AIM - Ideaspace Entrepreneurship Development Program

Ideaspace enrolled us in Entrepreneurship Development Program of AIM in order to supercharge our ventures with enough resources.

Excited for new things to learn and at the same time at a loss – that’s how I am facing tougher times and bigger challenges for the idea that my colleagues and I are nurturing. Or should I accurately say, battering?

Oh yes. Beating and battering. As quoted by Professor Richard Cruz, great philosopher Michael Gerard Tyson said,

Everybody’s got a plan… until they get punched in the face.

That’s the watered-down quote that is apt in preparing startup founders who will face investors in the ring. Here’s the original in all its wisdom:

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

You know what’s coming. So watch out!

Team Aboo

Here we are, from left to right: Jason, myself, and Ezra – with smiles still on.

Links and Actions

Entry Comments Actions

I categorize <a> into two: Links and Actions.

Links will take you to another location, mostly for information while Actions could also do the same but with a more targeted purpose.

Examples

Links

Actions

Links can be left alone in CSS – because they are buried in paragraphs or sitting beside other texts. Actions require styles that will enhance their usability – like padding to increase its active area (easier to click).

What Is a Blind Bird Ticket?

Entry Comments Actions

Bird Splat

I’ve been reading lately about events and conferences selling “Blind Bird” tickets.

It seems like it stemmed from “Early Bird” and upon searching the term “Blind Bird Ticket” in Google, only more Blind Bird ticket sales came up. No official Wiki or definition whatsover.

Buying a Blind Bird Ticket means that you’re entitled to a hefty discount (much like an Early Bird) at an event without further details yet – such as to who will be speaking or doing the intermission numbers.

Putting Skip to Content Into Context

Entry Comments Actions

Does the HTML markup of your website has an accessibility function in the form of “Skip to Content”? If yes, then you would notice that it is located at the topmost of the markup. This is as such in order to make it the first focus when using keyboard to navigate.

Now you may ask, “Shouldn’t the document title be at the topmost of the document?”

Not when you put this accessibility function into the context of its intended use. The user, upon arriving at your website might have come from a link or have typed a URL into the web browser. That could’ve acted as the document title that ensures the user where s/he is.

The second part of this context is the user being able to go directly to the content – skipping every element that isn’t part of his or her purpose for visiting the website.

See the Pen Skip to Content by Brian Dys Sahagun (@BrianSahagun) on CodePen.