Meralco aiming to shift its network to a smart grid

Meralco posts increase in electricity charges for November

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is set to launch its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project this year as part of its effort to transform its distribution network into a smart grid.

The power distributor filed an application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to approve AMI services by June 1, 2017.

In its application, Meralco said it wants to expand its AMI coverage through the installation of smart meters and communications infrastructure to cover Metro Manila by 2019, and the whole franchise by 2024.

AMI will allow Meralco to monitor what is happening in its electric grid and enable them to respond to events, restore power swiftly, and improve overall operational efficiency.

It is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks and data management system that serves as a two-way communication avenue between utilities and customers.

AMI will allow customers to manage their “energy usage and budget through consumption information, alerts and notifications.”

Prepaid AMI areas are currently only in Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig and parts of Rizal.

“From the identified coverage areas per [regulatory year], and proposed meter installations and replacement, Meralco will be activating an estimated total of 3.3 million customers and targeted points within the distribution network by 2024,” Meralco said.

However, ERC still has to approve Meralco’s petition to roll out 235,000 smart meters both prepaid and postpaid.

The power distributor is also seeking clearance to implement the prepaid retail electricity services (PRES), advanced outage management, distribution automation, net metering program, smart streetlights, and other supplemental services.

Meralco will also offer supplemental services like demand response programs, management of distributed energy resources, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) management, home area network, and smart streetlights.

They will also launch an online web portal where customers can monitor their consumption in order to determine their monthly electricity usage.

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  1. Elmer B. Sambo

    Meralco should ensure all players in the generation, transmission and distribution is considered in this smart grid project as mainly this will be driven by future integration of renewable energy (RE) sources. Integration of RE is a poly-nodal problem involving multiple decision-makers at a variety of spatial and temporal scales and widely varying degrees of coordination. These decision-makers include operators of RE and energy storage resources, grid operators, energy market operators and transmission planning bodies. As such, grid integration is not performed by any one entity in the power system, but instead involves the actions of a variety of entities, some highly coordinated and others discrete. The burgeoning development of smart grids adds still more tools, options and players to the mix. Many of these actors engage with various technology standards, practices, procedures and policies for the operation of individual generators, RE clusters, substations, and the broader electrical energy system. This is a good move by Meralco anticipating the impact of the Climate Change Action Plan in reducing greenhouse (GHG) emission.

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