The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) projects an additional rate of at least P0.23 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) in electricity bills of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) when its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project will be approved.
The ERC said it is currently reviewing the cost implications of Meralco’s pending AMI applications in order to cushion its impact to consumers.
“The Commission is conducting further study pertinent to these smart meters for the AMI considering that our initial calculations disclosed that an average rate adjustment of P0.2309 per kWh will be added to the customers’ electric bill if the smart meters will be shared by all MERALCO customers, while an average rate adjustment of P0.3972 per kWh if charged only to MERALCO bulk customers”, ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes VST Devanadera said.
Meralco filed its application for approval of its AMI project with the ERC in March 2017 in line with the “Rules to Govern the Implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) by Distribution Utilities and other ERC-Authorized Entities.”
Aside from its AMI application, smart meters and other devices and systems needed to apply its AMI project was included in its application for capital expenditures in April 2017.
The AMI rules requires ERC approval before any of the implementation of any AMI project.
Under the AMI rules, cost of all meters, devices, hardware, software, and processes necessary to implement the approved AMI project, whether basic and/or supplemental services, may be passed on to consumers subject to the applicable ERC rules and regulations on capital and operational expenditure approvals.
The implementation of the AMI is seen to promote demand side management and energy efficiency as it provides tools or services that empower consumers to manage their consumption.
In addition, it is expected to improve the operational efficiency of the distribution utility and reliability of its network as well as support Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA).
“We welcome these state-of-the-art technologies that will help consumers manage their electricity consumption. However, we must see to it that the installation of these Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) should not adversely affect the consumers in terms of paying higher electricity rates. We must protect the welfare and interests of our electricity consumers considering that our rates is one of the highest in the region and the government’s thrust is to make our electricity rates competitive and reasonable,” Devanadera said.