MERALCO: PH in need of new power plants

MERALCO power lines

Accelerating the development of new and reliable power plants in the country can help avoid generation deficiencies and high electricity spot market prices during tight supply conditions, the Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO) said. 

In a report by the Philippine Star, MERALCO vice president and head of utility economics department Lawrence Fernandez said during a House Committee on Energy briefing that customers should be provided with more options of generation suppliers by accelerating the implementation of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) and Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) to help reduce generation charge. 

This September, MERALCO announced an increase in its electricity rates amid higher generation charges. 

RCOA allows customers with an average peak demand of at least 500 kilowatts (kW) to choose and secure its supply contracts from licensed retail electricity suppliers (RES). The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), however, said that they’re not yet inclined to lower the threshold. 

The ERC launched the Retail Aggregation Program where consumers within a contiguous area with an average peak demand of at least 500 kW can share the benefits of the RCOA program. The program is set to take full effect in December this year. 

Under the GEOP, meanwhile, customers with an average demand of 100 kW for the past 12 months can contract with RES for 100% renewable energy supply. 

Fernandez said that there are 94 successful GEOP switchers within the MERALCO franchise area. 

The distribution company further stressed that delays in transmission and distribution projects must be avoided to support the entry of new power plants and maintain grid reliability and power quality. 

MERALCO is also pushing for the modernization of all distribution utilities in the country through the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) that can provide consumers with real-time information, a platform for retail choice programs, a live link to the distribution utility for faster service, and a safer and more resilient network.