ATE Co is not an energy provider, but a service providing distributed energy systems for households, such as basic solar home systems or microgrids.
ATE Co's APPROACH
ATE Co is working for and with vulnerable communities to provide them with safe, clean energy solutions.
ATE Co defines communities as vulnerable if: individuals/households use poor, informal sources of energy for lighting (kerosene, torches, candles, generators and batteries), a lack of access to electricity (no access at all or illegally connected) and/or living below the poverty line.
ATE Co identifies these communities through a variety of sources, including local governmental authorities, electric cooperatives, local community organizations, NGOs, etc. ATE Co often works with local partners to assist in improving the living situation of their residents. ATE Co will only work in an area in which there is collaboration and approval from the local authorities.
Once an appropriate location is identified, the ATE Co team begins to introduce the program to the community. ATE Co’s field-oriented approach allows staff to get to know the communities, introduce potential solutions, and survey their energy needs as well as their financial capacity. This initial phase enables ATE Co to study the feasibility to deploy the program in the community and ensures receptivity to the service. ATE Co is currently operating in urban Metro Manila and its surrounding suburbs, as well as, Rizal, Quezon Province and Northern Samar.
ATE Co offers clean sources of energy. The way to make these solutions affordable goes hand-in-hand with a flexible and income-appropriate payment scheme. The amount a household will pay daily or weekly is identified and aligned with what the household was spending for alternative solutions. As the financial capacity of the members of the communities are low, they are rarely able to purchase a solar kit upfront, therefore ATE Co’s model is based on pre-paid fees to prevent households falling into greater debt.
Training is key for the customers of ATE Co to gain knowledge of solar energy, the capacity to troubleshoot their system and manage their energy use. In each community, ATE Co trains one person from the community to be the link between the customers and the ATE Co staff. This position is called AFO, Area Field Officer, and oversees cash collection, small maintenance, system features troubleshooting – bringing proximity to the service.
In summary, ATE Co’s aim is to identify vulnerable communities, assess and understand their capacity and needs and then adapt a solar solution that meets those needs. When ATE Co can integrate the members community into the solution, creating a benefit which is more than just safe, reliable, affordable energy, the program’s goal is truly met.