Meralco seeks 235, 000 additional smart meters

Meralco seeks 235,000 additional smart meters

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is seeking the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) approval for an additional 235, 000 smart meters as it expands its prepaid retail electricity service (PRES).

Meralco Senior Vice President and head for customer retail services and corporate communications Alfredo Panlilio said they have filed an application with the ERC for 235, 000 additional smart meters for the regulatory year (RY) 2017, the period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

This follows the ERC’s approval for the 100, 000 prepaid meters the distribution company previously sought for RY 2016, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

“We have [one] pending now for 235,000 meters for RY 2017… depending on how we can also bring down cost of meters, we’ll ramp it up accordingly,” Panlilio said.

He said the application includes both prepaid and postpaid smart meters, with more focus on prepaid meters as the product has already been developed. Meralco was initially cleared for 40, 000 prepaid meters.

Meralco chief technology adviser Gavin Barfield said the power distributor is moving into the digital age as it upgrades its distribution infrastructure and smart meters.

“We are utilizing the latest technology to improve our grid operations, provide more consumption information and convenience to our customers and to roll out new products and services,” he said.

“We’re fortunate to get the support of ERC to provide us the necessary approvals for capital expenditures for infrastructure. We’re nearing 40,000 prepaid meters and we have approval now for the next 100,000 and those will be rolled out and deployed. So there will be additional waves of smart meters, prepaid and postpaid,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes said.

The company is aiming to engage half of its customers to shift to smart meters in the next eight years.

“My dream on smart grid is everybody [to be] on smart meters. But obviously, we have to work with ERC in terms of approvals… Of course, our role is to bring down the costs [of meters] even further,” he said.