Filipinos pay the second-highest electricity prices in Asia but thanks to a start-up business, business consumers in the country are now able to receive competitive bids in real time from electricity suppliers. This has slashed their electricity costs by 10 per cent on average and the hope is households will benefit next.
A camp he attended in 2015 inspired then-undergraduate Sergius Angelo Santos to find a way to offer cheaper electricity to Filipino consumers. Sponsored by a leading power generation firm, the camp gathered some of the Philippine capital’s brightest students. Through workshops, they were exposed to different aspects of the power industry, including economic and political issues related to energy management in the country.
Santos learned that the Philippines had the second-highest electricity prices in Asia, and that this had prompted multi-national companies to move production abroad because of subsidies and incentives that governments elsewhere offered to energy consumers. Unlike its Asian neighbours Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, electricity rates in the Philippines are not subsidised by the government.
“High electricity rates in the Philippines have also been stifling the growth of many small and medium enterprises and preventing manufacturing companies from further expanding locally, hence, opting to just outsource production abroad,” Santos told Eco-Business. “This was what motivated me to find solutions.”
Santos rounded up his student friends Matt Tan, Bradley Cua and Enzo Bautista and they figured out how to tackle the problem. In January last year, they launched Exora, an online platform connecting Filipino businesses directly with energy suppliers, which would bid to offer electricity at the best prices to clients. It is the first in Asia to provide real-time energy bidding by energy suppliers to woo a customer.
The start-up enables businesses to put their electricity profiles on its platform and connect with an electricity partner that will offer a price range and contract that meets their expectations.