Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
Since 2019, many countries have been facing the problem of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected people's health, economy, and society at large. This is a challenge for MEA's customer service, affecting about 3.8 million customers. The MEA aims to rapidly mitigate the impacts of customers from the spread of COVID-19 in the New Normal, with the following objectives: 1. Being able to provide service during the crisis continuously while considering people’s health, safety and properties. 2. Alleviating the utility costs (electricity) for all categories of customers especially vulnerable groups such as the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, and the elderly. 3. Promoting digital technology or innovative services to cope with the situation, MEA has prepared a concrete strategic plan consisting of: 1) Using Big Data to analyze and design service innovation or service delivery innovation with digital technology and AI; continuously promoting the E-service in response to the 20-year national strategy framework and Thailand 4.0 policy on digital usage, etc., resulting in more users of MEA Smart Life service and less in onsite service. 2) Formulating a Risk Management Plan which covers all departments to be safe from the COVID-19 including the MEA employees and customers, adjusting the service model to be in line with government measures; and integrating MEA’s operation with government agencies such as monitoring of the electrical system of important public health facilities 24 hours a day (field hospitals, alternative hospitals, hospitels, community isolations, and quarantines) 3) Taking measures to help people and stimulate the economy in the pandemic situation including providing services to customers, such as giving discounts on electricity bills or the installment payment of electricity bills, also the refund of security deposits for customers more than 6,000 million baht.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
MEA's missions consist of customer service and power system maintenance to ensure safety, reliability and support economic expansion such as new/added electricity application and payment methods. Due to COVID-19, MEA has improved its management and operations by adopting new technologies effectively; using Big Data to manage large databases; and to design the new service innovation which help promote using E-service including a focus on social protection measures. Due to MEA’s areas, it is considered Thailand's economic center, all sectors would be affected in a short time and there would be no inequality for using MEA's services.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
Power system maintenance, Business continuity plan (BCP) for customer services management in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support Development Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation (9.1). Support Development Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries, all groups of people can have opportunity and equality, reduce disparities in service outcomes (10.3). Support Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. (16.7) and support Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, in ensuring adequate access to housing and basic services safely and affordably and upgrade slum communities by 2030, as well as support risk reduction and management of national and global health risks from COVID-19. Target Development 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; also adapt new technology into service provision. In the case of government measures, there are the operational guidelines which would be integrated with comparable agencies and upgraded the accordance of policies to be consistent and sustainable development (Support Development 17.14).
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
MEA promotes and supports E- services especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, with a budget of 15 million baht; creates online service and use information technology to increase convenience for customers such as: 1) MEA Smart Life Application focuses on convenience, quick access to electricity usage information, online - payment or outage report; also access information and pay water bills by one application; as well as search for information on other government offices such as police stations, hospitals, etc. 2) MEASY, which focuses on facilitating the online services including issuing E-documents such as receipts, tax invoices, and notifications issuance etc.,
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
MEA cooperates with other government agencies to provide assistance to people in the same direction as follows: 1) Refund electricity meter deposits which helps alleviate the suffering of the people. 2) Alleviate people's suffering by postponing the power cuts, discount electricity charge for all and extend the payment period up to 6 months. 3) MEA supports the medical equipment to 18 hospitals, totaling 18 million baht. In addition, MEA has prepared the MEA hospital to be a recovery center and quarantine for COVID-19 patients. 4) MEA provides support for the installation of electrical equipment to field hospitals of more than 300 beds. 5) MEA supports the Port Authority of Thailand to build a field hospital and quarantine center. 6) MEA installed electrical equipment for warning 10 potential flooded areas through SCADA and DMS systems for efficient and safe power distribution; and the electrical systems are to be monitored to maintain the drainage system 24 hours a day. 7) Free electricity use for less than 50 units/month bills, mostly are the poor customers. 8) Patients who need medical equipment for treatment can register to obtain a no-power cut agreement for their safety of life and health.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
MEA has formed the Center for the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) and welcomes women to join. Women are involved in development and decision-making at all levels. The collaboration of women and men in the committee results in policies and measures to help people who are suffering from COVID 19 such as reduction in electricity fees 33.6%, free electricity for low-income customers, installment payment, power cut notice, and providing enough light for public especially in high- risk or remote areas.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the MEA service areas, resulting in approximately 3.8 million cases. Although the government's announcement of a lockdown created safety and control of the pandemic, the economy crashed severely with long-term damage. People cooperated in social distancing and avoided travelling to crowded places. While people complied with the campaign "stay at home, stop pandemic, for the nation", the use of electricity power has increased dramatically. All changes on social activities resulted in an increase in electricity consumption, such as online studies, work from home and online business channels have grown rapidly. According to the government policies, in terms of support for all group of electric users, the MEA has used digital technology to make various aid plans as well as improving online service. In terms of back office, the MEA has ensured the electricity supply sufficient for people’s needs especially vulnerable groups, unemployed, patients, and medical treatment. In addition, the MEA has developed its online service to Virtual Districts for the convenience of all electricity users resulting in less processes, less paperwork, less travelling, less pollution but more convenience and more satisfaction.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
In the first phase of the pandemic, the MEA formed the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) which consists of 7 operating teams with knowledge, abilities, and expertise to deal with the COVID-19 situation immediately. The objectives are as follows : 1) Acknowledge the situation reports and information from the Emergency Control and related agencies. 2) Analyse the crisis to estimate the situation. Decide to open and close the command center. 3) Command the Emergency Management Committees, the Economic Salvage committees, and related agencies to implement according to the plans and reports to CMC. 4) Advice and provide guidelines on threat suppression, revive or recover the interrupted implementation to the Emergency Management Committees. 5) Quickly clarify or provide information to the media and stakeholders and increase operational efficiency. In 2020, the MEA implemented an action plan to deal with the Covid-19 crisis: Phase 1, monitoring, assessing the situation and preventing incidents. (Pre-March 2020) Phase 2 Incident Management for Power Systems Service and Employees (March-June 2020) Phase 3 Return to Normal and Surveillance for Wave 2 (June – Oct 2021) and continue to practice until present. MEA has used Big Data of all customer types to create an emergency and business continuity plan, in form of an action manual and important customer service measures to cope with the interruption of MEA's service procedures. The MEA has provided work sites for emergency centers, tools, vehicles, machines, materials which related to the electrical system, etc. The MEA offers services for requesting new electricity, bill payment, and receiving complaints through online channels for convenience and preventing the spread of the pandemic. All this resulted in the MEA winning the SOE Award, which shows the excellent ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis of year 2020.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The following are the problems and solutions:
1) Sensitive groups, such as bedridden patients, the destitute, the elderly were impacted by power outage for maintenance. MEA conducted survey and assisted those groups, in order to safeguard them from power outages.
2) Group of people which are unable to access technology, MEA established services and public relations to support them.
3) People who are untrustworthy with online channels, MEA has worked hard to gain trust for quality services that are convenient, fast, and transparent that helped greatly reduce complaints. For example, an online channel returned 6,000 million Baht in electricity collateral.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
The idea of service provision during the COVID-19 pandemic comes from learning and understanding rapid growth rate and uncontrolled urban expansion in metropolis caused of population density, slum, traffic congestion, income inequality problems as well as other inevitable consequences. Bangkok, SamutPrakan, and Nonthaburi have been in the top 10 provinces of Thailand affected by COVID-19 from 2020 to present. It was a big challenge to apply digital innovation to New Normal Life in order to get faster and more convenient services for customers. Big data systems can link to consumer behaviors and interesting information which lead to further business development.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
Service Innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic gets inspiration from the Royal Initiative of His Majesty King Rama IX on the Public Health Development Project “When people are physically healthy will result in good mental health as well, they can develop economic and quality of life of a nation”. MEA applies the appropriate knowledge to solving solve the problems so that people at all levels can access the MEA's service during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce the density of customers at MEA’s Districts, avoid close contact, reduce the cost of living and increase business opportunities.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
Service innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic uses digital technology in every process, such as Geographic Information Systems, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), SAP systems, etc. Those systems are important to managing, planning, and making accurate decisions. An organization database is has been prepared with the Analytic Model / Data Analytic to analyze and plan the implementation as well as to integrate information development with relevant agencies, such as linking the database with civil registration, cooperating with the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority in providing public utilities with digital technology or the exchange of organizational structure information.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
Service delivery innovation during the COVID-19 situation has been passed through the submission of award contests related to service of national level, resulting in MEA being able to win 4 awards as follows:
1) The MEA received the Digital Government Awards and an Award of Supporting government policy according to the project of canceling copies of official documents in the event "Digital Government Awards 2019 by the Digital Government Development Agency.
2) SOE Award from the Covid-19 crisis management by the State Enterprise Policy Office.
3) Digital Government Awards 2020, The winner of the Division Level, developing innovations in other online services especially during the COVID-19 crisis, such as the MEASY online service system that increases convenience for customers, refundable the deposit of electricity used, including the temporary power cut. The MEA is ready to adopt the technology of innovation development to improve service efficiently towards Digital Thailand 4.0 to facilitate the people, business sectors, including participating in the country movement.
4) State Excellence Award for the year 2021, in with a total of 2 prizes including "Good level" Government service award, in the category of Upgrade Service in response to the COVID-19 situation, and category of Upgrade Facilitation Service.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
Phase 1: 2006-2012, The MEA promoted the international profession under the operation of Overseas Business Committee, consisting of training services, consulting jobs, and international project management.
Phase 2: 2013-2016, Service
training/seminars/education at work for Co-project training for TICA – JICA, training/education at work under the cooperation of working group/MOU and ICASEA, Harmonization of Power Distribution System in Lower Mekong Sub-Region Project and consultants for the plan development and expansions of the electrical system of Nigeria's Enugu Electric System (ENUGU), the total contract period is 5 years.
Phase 3: 2016-2020, The MEA Energy Solution Company Limited was established for corporate training with TICA – JICA, course of Power Distribution System Engineering, Training program for The Electricity of Vietnam (EVNNPC and EVNCPC) on Improving Management Capacity in Power Distribution and Improvement of Capacity on Customer Service, and contract work as consultants for Electricity Distribution System Business Development Project in Myanmar.
Present: The MEA continues the mission under the International Business Division providing development and adjustment of the electricity distribution system and other related services in foreign countries relying on The MEA's main competence in management and service the electricity distribution system with quality, safety, and reliability to be accepted both nationally and regionally.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
1) The Crisis Management Committee (CMC) has been formed consisting of 7 faculties, 84 people from 29 agencies, responsible for communication and public relations, supporting information technology and communication systems, customer service, finance, and budgeting, etc.
2) 2020 Budget goal achieved (including Coat Saving), which equals 22,064 million baht. This shows the continuity of the projects of MEA to improve the quality of electricity.
3) MEA's services are recognized by the integrated civil society, according to a 2020 survey from Thammasat University, electricity consumers are 83.56% satisfied with the quality of MEA's services.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
The MEA Board of Directors and high-level executive committees attach great importance to sustainable organizational development. Joint review and preparation of corporate enterprise plans by setting policies, directions, reviewing visions, mission values, and defining strategies, goals, and indicators that can meet the challenges that arise. Develop a strategic action plan as a plan/project to drive the organization to achieve its goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are one of the factors in that process, such as maintaining the power system. Continuous planning and management of services for electricity users without interruption even in a pandemic of COVID-19.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
1) Digital Government Awards 2019 by the Digital Government Development Agency evaluated on readiness and reliability.
2) SOE Award by the State Enterprise Policy Office, evaluated on outstanding ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis.
3) Digital Government Award: The 1st DG Awards 2020 by the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA), evaluated improvements in the management and integration of government data
4) Government Excellence Awards 2021: Development capability to respond to the COVID-19 situation
5) Human Rights Awards 2021: Model Organization Awards, emphasized equitable treatment, and fairness.
This is an honorary award that confirms MEA's commitment to leave no one behind.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
1) Implementation of business continuity plans leads to consistent reductions of interruption as in the year 2019 to 2021: 869, 789, 704 times respectively to continue to serve the people during the crisis
2) Measures to quickly refund the deposit of electricity use, from 2020 - present, in the amount of 6,000 million baht to alleviate the burden of basic utility expenses (electricity) for all at all levels, especially the poor and the employed.
3) Promote online behaviors with digital service resulting in the online users rising more than 100% and onsite bill payment decreasing 24.3%.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
MEA has received many awards as in Question 9.b, because MEA made a summary of the implement named "Lesson learned from the emergency response measures to the COVID-19 pandemic" as learning information and a practice model for working in a long running unusual situation.
MEA has formed the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), directed by MEA Governor, to evaluate the situation, command the Emergency Management Committee, the Economic Salvage Committee, and relevant agencies to continue the plans and report to the CMC, and provide advice and guidelines on practice of crisis.
Importantly, it specifies a clear target, duration, and responsibility by following up as well as making policies and guidelines such as adopting Big Data to analyze, and design services, and create innovation. Digital technology and AI support online services via electronic channels, which respond to the 20-year Development Plan, building growth on environmental-friendly quality, Thailand 4.0 policy on digital, etc.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
MEA adheres to the principles of risk management under the CMC in terms of monitoring, evaluating, and formulating a plan to cope with changes in continuous electricity distribution.
MEA has systematically managed the manpower of the power failure maintenance rooms, work sites, tools, vehicles, machines, in the COVID-19 situation. The systematic operation allows MEA to operate its core missions continuously and sustainably. This management can also be adapted to other situations that may arise, enhance flexibility to reduce processes to have work done faster. To review and adjust the process regularly helps the impact on society and community. These impacts can be significantly reduced when there is a widespread problem.
In addition, the CMC has set measures to take care of the electrical systems of public health with the Automation Outage Warning System (AOWS), the innovation that MEA has created for continuity electricity distribution and immediate electricity failure notification.
The system has been installed within 15 field hospitals in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, as well as electrical maintenance in vulnerable areas to ensure 24-hour electricity distribution, such as field hospitals, alternative hospitals, hospitals, quarantine quarter, add up to more than 757 places.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The internal stakeholder is the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), main operator with 29 agencies integrated. The CMC defines, monitors, evaluates, reviews, improves and corrects problems in procedures, creates flexibility to be in accordance with the goals of the integration development plan. The plan is formulated to foster transparency, unity, and responsibilities of each agency in order to achieve the sustainability of the mission received.
External stakeholders are MEA's service users, including the low-income people, the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged, residents in slums, other government agencies, private agencies, and residents in MEA service areas. They have participated in commenting or reporting problems during MEA’s service usage. MEA has its own social responsibility activities such as Safe Market activity. Since markets need forms of electricity distribution differently from residential, MEA is aware of possible problems, capable to analyze, plan and work together with the market vendors to create Food Truck Model for safety electrical equipment installation and electric shock protection equipment. The safety of life and property keeps business moving and reduces income inequality, which is an important financial function that enables the world to achieve sustainable development goals.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Although MEA was awarded the SOE Award, showing outstanding ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, which focused on providing digital services in various fields and even won other awards, MEA has to continue improving services to become a fully digitized service. To meet the behaviors or various needs of customers, services are available for all online and social media channels with 24 hour fast service by using AI that has been collecting data for more than 1 year to learn the behaviors of customers from Big Data database and analyze the interaction of customers who are in contact via social media so that AI will be able to serve like a professional official providing fast service continuously.
In order to find measures and approaches to mitigate the risks as well as being able to respond to those risks in a timely manner, the MEA reviews matters and possibilities that could be risks to the service and annually analyzes changes that may be Emerging Risks.