No more calls. Just text your queries or report any power outages to ASKVECO and “within a minute” you’ll get a reply from the Visayan Electric Company (VECO).
Jaime Jose Aboitiz, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of VECO acknowledges the importance of customer convenience and admitted that too many simultaneous calls to VECO hotline number cause delays in reporting outages.
The service uses main syntax ASKVECO plus specific item codes and send it as an SMS to all mobile networks from any handsets. VECO management promises the replies shall be received within a minute from sending a valid syntax unless there is a major failure in the mobile cellular system of a telco. (Below: Screen shot of the reply from ASKVECO that i’d received within a minute from sending a query.)
- a general reply on any present outages will be sent to customers
- a specific cause of the outages will be replied to the customers with an estimated time when the power service shall be restored. In case a “brownout” is reported by the customer, VECO can easily spot the area by getting the address of the customer based on the account ID. Upon receiving the OUTAGE text from the customer, VECO shall dispatch its emergency crew to the customer’s site for immediate restoration of the service.
- the syntax use the pole number nearest to the area of the customer which will be traced from VECO’s map to locate the outage affected area.
- if the account ID and pole number can’t be immediately retrieved, VECO customers may use their complete address (including house number, street, barangay, city)
Representatives of Sun and Smart networks present during the media launching also point out that text unlimited plans can still send ASKVECO queries without maintaining regular loads if the query is send to the assigned Sun and Smart numbers respectively. Here are the assigned numbers for the various networks:
- 391-8326 (Smart/Talk N’ Text/Red Mobile)
- 0922-999-8326 (Sun/other networks)
Very notable is the absence of an assigned number for the Globe/Touch Mobile networks. ASKVECO had stopped using the special access number 2327 for Globe/Touch Mobile but instead direct its customers who are subscribers of the network to use same number for Sun (0922-999-8326). VECO management did not elaborate the reason for this but telecom industry sources say the Globe network’s previous access number would result in much delays of sending replies to VECO customers.
In July 2011, VECO had launched its first series of Text Broadcast– ASKVECO BILL which allows its over 330,000 customers to get their monthly bills in advance through text. Customers can ask their bill through text even a day after their electric meters have been read.
On the other hand, VECO customers can continue call its hotline at 230-VECO(8326).