The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) has committed to keep the lights on (#KeepTheLightsOn) for its over 6.9 million customers amid the coronavirus-19 pandemic.
In a statement released to media on May 23, MERALCO said it is important that there are enough personnel to ensure 24/7 service.
MERALCO president and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa emphasized that the health and safety of employees are of paramount importance, thus instituting strict return-to-office health protocols to keep the threat of COVID-19 at bay within the organization.
For daily health checks, employees are required to declare their whereabouts and health status through the Code Light application available online. This will allow daily health monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19 through self-declaration by way of the application. Code Light also triggers contact tracing if symptoms are declared or if direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, suspect case or probable case is declared.
A 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline was also set-up to further provide online medical consultation for employees manifesting virus symptoms. The Code Light Application and COVID-19 Hotline are the first lines of defense to ensure that symptoms are thoroughly screened and checked daily by health professionals.
As part of the preparation for the workplace re-entry arrangements in the office buildings, work premises and business centers, several measures were initiated to assure employees of management’s main thrust to provide a safe and secure work environment. Disinfection of offices using Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation room sterilizers and disinfectant vaporizing equipment, cleaning and disinfection of air conditioning units (ACU) and air handling units (AHU) were completed. Ultraviolet lamp installation at individual ACUs and AHU cooling coils is currently being undertaken to further improve ventilation and ensure safe indoor air quality in offices. To enhance this further, high efficiency particular air (HEPA) filters and air exchange blowers shall be installed in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
In addition to these measures aimed at improving air quality, installation of protective barriers, implementation of six feet social distancing, reduction of office density, management of foot traffic, enhanced communication on proper hygiene protocol, and provision of foot mats, temperature scanners and alcohol stations were likewise done. For employees who commute, transportation services were made available to them via additional shuttle services and motor pool vehicles as well as encouragement of carpooling. Depending on the type of external exposure, provision and use of of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) such as facemasks, face shields, goggles, gloves, and hazmat suits will continuously be carried out.
Work arrangements such as flexible hours, shifting and work-from-home were also adapted according to the work requirements. For those employees and contractors required on-site, a RAPID MASS TESTING was implemented in partnership with the Pasig City Health Office to ensure that asymptomatic individuals (those with no symptoms) are screened, detected and isolated to further minimize the spread of the virus.
Re-Testing will also be conducted monthly for at least twenty percent of the workforce, with priority given to employees depending on exposure and job risk. Reactive cases under this rapid testing program undergo further verification, as necessary, using an RT-PCR based test. As part of the process, contact tracing is immediately carried out for confirmed cases and adherence to the established protocols is strictly enforced.
For collaboration, online meetingsare now the new normal. Group gatherings continue to be discouraged and strict building entry protocols such as temperature and medical screening, as well as hand and shoe sanitation, are in place. Local and foreign travel remains to be discontinued as well as cross-site physical interaction. Training programs have also shifted online for continuous employee development.
All these, as well as other protocols and initiatives, ensure that all Meralco employees as well as customers remain safe and protected at all times in their effort to keep the lights on.