The Public Service Improvement through the Launching of PEA Mobile Shop (PEA Mobile Shop)
Provincial Electricity Authority

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) is a Thai state enterprise subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. PEA is responsible for the distribution of electricity to 18 millionunits, including inhabitants and industrial sectors in 74 provinces throughout Thailand - all except Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samutprakarn. The main objective of PEA is to provide its clients quality electricity in both urban and rural areas. Our clients are mostly living in rural areas. More than four-fifths of them are from household users located in distant and remote areas. Some of which are far from the PEA local offices tens of kilometers without any public transportation to the office which further leads to a difficulty that they cannot receive any services from us. The situation could be worse in the rainy season that it may impair the route, making it impossible to travel to the central part of town. This eventually leads to the loss of their electricity usage. The advantage of making payments at the office, for those who live in urbanized areas, is that they donot pay any fees. While making the payment at any of our outsourced agents, people will also be charged with some payment fees. It further includes that the agents’ information system is not directly synchronized with our system making our users at risk of losing their electricity when they pay their overdue bills. However, there are still many customers who are unable to make it in time even we allow about 10 more days of paying the overdue bill after the due date as well as the Short Messaging Service (SMS) is also available. According to this, paying the overdue bill must be made at any PEA office as to assure them the electricity will not be cut after the payment. So, we have seen a numerous numbers of people paying their overdue bills at our office. This is not only wasting their time, some villagers might take half a day to make a journey to our offices, but also their money. Our study has found that those who pay before the due date are approximately 6.5 million every month while over 40 percent of our users make delayed payments due to tight cash flow which makes it impossible to pay before the end of the month. So, we have always seen plenty of people coming to the offices on the last and the first week of the month, some offices seeing 5,000 customers a day, during that period making them to wait for more than an hour. Another limitation is that our offices operate from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Thus, they may have to leave their work earlier in order to make the payment before the cut.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To reduce the disparity and increase equality for all, we had decided to modify an old electrical-service car to be a PEA Mobile Shop as a way to access our clients in all areas.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This project was initialized on June 9th 2014 in NakhonRatchasima, Surin, Buriram, and Chaiyaphum, located in the north-east of the country, which have number of people living in scattered areas. Most of them were farmers with relatively low incomes. They were also unable to access our service at any facility during the operating time. Although multi-paying channels; banks, credit card and counter service, were provided at that time but the distant people were still unable to access our services. We had acknowledged their hardship so, we aimed to work on how to reduce their expense, increase their livelihood and develop their quality of life. That had eventually come to the projected program, by modifying our old electrical-service car to be a PEA Mobile Shop installed with communication and information systems as well as an internet connection supporting internal operations. This was to provide our clients living in distant areas with a quick service, being convenient and satisfied. The project could lift our distant clients’ quality of lives up in many ways as the following; 1] Economic:On this issue, the project aims at reducing their expenses on traveling to PEA’s offices as well as the fees needed for the payment. This means that they have more cash flow available for spending on their own matters and the economy system gains more circulating fund. 2] Society: In local society, male members often go to work out of town. Hence, female members are always responsible for taking care their children and other members in their families. Paying the bill is another part women are responsible for. By providing an alternative way to pay bills, for example PEA Mobile Shop, they may have more time to be with family members – children are about to receive care,as well as save time which may lead to better learning progress. 3] Human Rights: Launching PEA Mobile Shop could give clients, both living in urbanized and rural areas, equality in accessing our service regardless their social status – especially for those women in our society who are responsible for billing matters and gain few ways to travel long distance. 4] Safety: Using our service at the PEA Mobile Shop decreases the risk of having an accident, as well as encountering with criminals while traveling to our local office – a great channel in serving women who need to make it alone. 5] Service: Clients does not need to make it to our local office for the electricity registration but only at the PEA Mobile Shop as a One Stop Service. It has been made easier for registering process as well as electricity-related problems reporting.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Prior the project, a survey was conducted in order to study on clients’ satisfactory on our service - a way to continually improve our duty for all. The result of our survey revealed that clients need our service countrywide, quick and safe. In order to improve our service according to the result, we came up with the proposed idea by utilizing our own belongings even though it required more investment this was no obstacle to us. Our initial phrase was very well organized with the cooperation from community leaders who assisted our project on informing the locations of the PEA Mobile Shop. Here are the ideas presented in each of the mobile center; Physical appearance: Distinctive look from the decoration painted with PEA’s logo and installed with modern technology. Employees: Our employees on PEA Mobile Shop are instructed on all sorts of knowledge and proficiency to serve our clients, for instance billing procedures, receiving complaints and emergency-distribution system matters and so on. Technological support: Information systems as well as queuing systems and SAP-BPM (Bill printing and Payment Management], used for synchronizing the database throughout our network, are the technology we use make our service effective for every client.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The service improvement was under the policy of Ministry of Interior - bringing quality services to the public through continuous improvement and focusing the importance of facilitation – by developing internal system more approachable and much quicker response to the changing situation. It then led to the development of the PEA Mobile Shop which was originated by various stakeholders including online feedback, chief PEA officer’s vision and policy aiming to serve every users and their contentment. Previously, many users were unable to access to our local offices during our operating time making their bills unpaid and their electricity cut. This had worsened our users’ livelihood as well as our overall reputation. In 2014, the chief executive officer of PEA North Eastern region 3 (PEA NE3) or Nakhon Ratchasima had proposed an idea based on mutual innovation that would bring convenience and equality to our services by launching mobile service – that further led to the launch of the PEA Mobile Shop serving distant people on receiving their payment and other related services. The goal was set at having 5 mobile centers by using the assets at highest benefit which ran through the modification of old electrical-service car to be PEA Mobile Shop, installed with useful technology for the operations, launched in 4 provinces in the initial phase including Surin, Buriram, NakhonRatchasima and Chaiyaphum. The recent number of users in 2016 was 120,000 users per month in 900 communities nationwide.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
We have recently worked on receiving payments through variety of channels including home-visiting representatives, money-deducted from their bank accounts as well as partners – Counter Service at 7/11 - but all of these gateways are still not enough and especially cannot reach our distant clients. So, we have made a strategy in which our staff can perform their best performance by distinguishing Front Office and Back Office, the former is responsible for serving clients while the latter is taking account in internal matters, which has been seen the most useful for our users regardless their distance. It can be said that “Integration and Excellence” are what we put on the strategic objective of PEA Mobile Shop, while the corporate strategy consists of “Customer-Centered” by responding to their needs to make them satisfied, building relationship between customer and corporate as well as the loyalty to our customers. Our objectives and strategies on the launch of PEA Mobile Shop are as following; Main Objective: Increasing our gatewayscovering customers in a wide range of areas,facilitating any of our clients to reach our service easily and enhancing their satisfaction. Strategic Implementation: Easy access,convenience and promptitude. 1. Image improvement on our customer service: By having modernized image. Bringing customers satisfactions through the modernized services under the idea of “PEA Light for Life” – in which employees serves friendly and adhere to their satisfactions. 2. Community relations: By choosing the best position serving distant customers who are unable to make it to the local office. 3. Convenience: The Mobile Shop does not require any invoice since it is searchable. 4. Promptitude: PEA Mobile Shop provides all sort of services provided at the local office. Needed resources are as follows; 1. Budget: In the initial phase, 500,000 THB was contributed to the modification of each of the vehicles. 2. Technical issues: Computer parts as well as telecommunications and queuing systems are fully set up in the PEA Mobile Shop. 3. Human Resources: We initially asked for one voluntary accountant, in each of the local offices, to operate in PEA Mobile Shop with other one driver.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The service improvement was under the policy of Ministry of Interior - bringing quality services to the public through continuous improvement and focusing the importance of facilitation – led to the recent phase of our service or PEA Mobile Shop. The implementation had been involved with bi-sectors including customers, who made their feedback on our site, and PEA NE3’s chief executiveofficer, who presented their policy and views on the needs of the users as well as bringing customers’ satisfaction initiatives into reality.Lately, it had been reported that our users who were in distant areas were unable to reach any of our services for billing in time; it then led to power cuts. There was also a delay in giving permission to electricity registrants which brought them difficulty. In 2014, our chief executive officer of PEA North Eastern region 3 (PEA NE3) or Nakhon Ratchasima had brought ideas sent from multi-users to create innovation that could facilitate distant people accessing the service. The idea was eventually based on mobile office serving people in a wide range of areas. This concept had led to the launch of PEA Mobile Shop which can cover variety of tasks, such as payment-receiving serviceand others, and operate in distant areas. The goal was set at having 5 mobile centers by using the assets at highest benefit which ran through the modification of old electrical-service car to be PEA Mobile Shop, installed with useful technology for the operations, launched in 4 provinces in the initial phase including Surin, Buriram, NakhonRatchasima and Chaiyaphum. We had seen, at that time, people used the mobile centers 15,000 times per month. In 2016, the project has been expanded to 48 vehiclesnationwide serving people more than 120,000 times per month.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Since our distribution system covers a wide range of areas with limited budget and resources make it unavailable for us to construct an office serving every user. So, it is best to make the most use of our own resources through the modification of an old electrical-service car to be a PEA Mobile Shop installed with communication and information system as well as internet connection supporting internal operations. The distinctive points of PEA Mobile Shop were that it was set to serve its clients directly, we were the very first state enterprise that reached our distant clients by providing direct public service, seen as a public utility infrastructure development through mobile service centers serving as comprehensive as ordinary local offices. Its quality was also relatively standardized to big private corporations. Our progress on this includesstaff service-mind improvement and information technology that ease the way we provide service to customers – we were rated “excellent” eventually. Another point was that the improvement brought a good customer relationship to many of our clients and developed their quality of lives by making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It can be summarized that the success of PEA Mobile Shop was originally from the multi-parties cooperation, especially the community staff that informed their villagers and cooperated with our mobile teams effectively, that has brought PEA Mobile Shop this remarkable accomplishment.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
PEA Mobile Shop was based on the idea that distant clients must be able to access our services like those who settled in urbanized areas. However, there were some significant challenges in the initial phase as following; 1. Unfamiliarity: Launching PEA Mobile Shop was a bit change of image making the customers unfamiliar with our mobile centers. Our solution was to publicize through banners, local offices, community leaders and sub-district/administrative organizations and their communication devices such as local-radio broadcasting service, village-voice broadcaster devices, and word-of-mouth as well as giving out souvenirs to those who came to the mobile centers for the first three months. The results were positive –decreasing their travelling expenses to the locals and increasing number of people making payment at the mobile centers. 2. Employees: At first our employees were not qualified enough to effectively communicateto those presented at the mobile shops. Hence, we organized a proper training to the field staff andmade study trips to first-class organizations on customer service to make them equally standardized. 3. Continually-used vehicles: Since our PEA Mobile Shops were modified from used vehicles that had been operated for years, so it might be slower than any other ordinary vehicles. To solve this challenge, we had assigned the drivers spent time evaluating the condition of each vehicle before the operations. Were there to have any unfixed parts, there would be a quick upkeep as well as periodical maintenance as a preventive maintenance.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Prior the project, a survey was conducted in order to study on clients’ satisfactory on our service - a way to continually improve our duty for all. The result of our survey revealed that clients need our service countrywide, quick and safe. In order to improve our service according to the result, we came up with the proposed idea by utilizing our own belongings even though it required more investment this was no obstacle to us. This project was driven from our strategy– customer centered – which directly benefits to the clients, mostly those who were in rural areas. In 2016, we had seen 48 vehicles in the PEA Mobile Shop as well as 120,000 clients per month. Mostly benefitted clients were the ones who lived in distant areas unable to access any of our service; the number went up to 900 communities nationwide. Since there was no need for the travel, they could spend time working on their own such as weaving silk, producing local goods and etc. PEA Mobile Shop also improved our organizational-image to as customer-centered as private companies since we mainly focused on their needs and expectation to our services.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The PEA Mobile Shop was our improvement in public services. Not only a part of rural people’s lives could it be, but also the expense were decreased. The project could support their well-being and increase their quality of lives as well. All of these were through the initialization of PEA Mobile Shop which it helped fixing the core problems hastily, covering wide range of areas and benefitting nationwide. The process comprised of multi parties focusing on marginalized people by distributing the modern-technology mobile shops, modified from used electrical-repairing truck, to quickly serve those who have few channels on accessing our services with convenience and highest satisfaction. The project implementation had shown that this project had given positive feedback on livelihood, traveling expense and related fees as well as time consuming activity to the local offices which may take up to hours. PEA Mobile Shop also had shown significant cooperation from our crews since it could take many hours on traveling to distant areas making them unable to stay with families or less hours spending with as well as associated risks from the projected work or any uncontrollable risk. Those responsible staff must also be accountable for the given tasks.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
In the present time, it can be seen that Thai male family members are always responsible for finding main source of family income upcountry, whether in fields or factories, while female members take responsibility on looking after their children and elders as well as paying the public utility bill. Travelling to our local offices from distant areas may bring the risk of encountering the crime to female members who travel alone; the risk is increased when they are on desolate road mostly on rural places. However, the PEA Mobile Shop gives an alternative channel in which they don’t need to travel along the way bringing them much more time to themselves and their children and those staying around – It can be said that this project has been increasing warmth to our clients’ families and decreasing the risk of facing a crime as well. Looking on accessibility, this program has helped building the accessible channel towards those who live in remote areas and making it equal for all. This is to promote the equality regardless their social conditions, careers or financial status.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Provincial Electricity Authority
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Thanapak Koetphokha
Title:   Deputy Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66) 44214334
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   k_yindee@yahoo.com  
Address:   3 Moo 2 Tambon Banmai
Postal Code:   30000
City:   Muang
State/Province:   Nakhonratchasima
Country:  

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