ATE Co : Acces to energy in the Philippines
Copyright Olivier Sabatier
Manila’s slums are overcrowded and dark, with inadequate connection to the electricity grid. The atmosphere there is tense. In order to light their homes and reduce the sense of insecurity, families use candles or kerosene lamps, or even tap in illegally to a more fortunate neighbour’s meter. But these alternatives are very costly, very dangerous and insufficient to meet people’s lighting and security needs.
An appropriate lighting solution
Entrepreneurs du Monde created ATE Co. in 2015 to help these families equip themselves with their own affordable, robust solar kit powered by lithium batteries. Each kit provides 3 lighting points and a phone charger. To allow the poorest people to access these kits, the team offers a leasing scheme called Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG); a flexible, cost-effective and sustainable system that allows customers to pay for their equipment according to their financial means, and eventually to own it.
A solar kit with remote activation technology is installed by the ATE Co. team with no initial investment required. The facilitator visits families regularly to collect the equivalent of a few days’ consumption, according to the family’s ability to pay. This modest payment triggers the sending of a code by SMS that allows the family to activate their solar kit. After a few months of « hiring », the family will own the kit and benefit from high-quality, free, unlimited and renewable solar lighting.
Expanding to new areas
Initially, ATE Co. offered its services exclusively in the slums of Manila. In 2018, it expanded its activities to outlying areas of the capital, where people evicted from the central slums had been relocated. In these outer areas, families are even further away from their place of work… and from the electricity grid. In 2018, ATE Co. equipped the first 50 of the families there.
First families to own their kits
In 2018, ATE Co. equipped 270 families, making a total of 400 since the creation of this social enterprise. The first forty-nine families became owners of their kits when they finished paying for them in 2018. Among them are 34 women, a figure which is in line with the social objectives of the programme.
ATE Co.’s partners