(The Philippine Star) | Updated December 26, 2016 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – As adoption of prepaid meters gain ground, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is aggressively ramping up the roll out of its prepaid retail electricity service (PRES) to 100,000 in 2017, a company official said.
The power distributor will reach 40,000 smart meters deployed by the end of the year, Meralco vice president and marketing, customer solutions and product development head Jose Antonio Valdez said.
“We’re finishing 40,000 (prepaid meters) within this month. We’re at 39,998. We started the year with around 20,000,” he said.
Meralco will deploy the 100,000 meters all within next year, which was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) earlier this year.
Initially, Meralco will start with 3,000 meters a month in the first few months of 2017 and raise the roll out to 10,000 to 15,000 meters a month in the second half all the way to 100,000 meters, Valdez said.
“That is the marching order… we have to deploy them quickly,” he said. “We’re expanding to Mandaluyong, Pasig and Makati, all within the first quarter. Our target households are those with consumption of 101 to 350 kilowatt-hours.”
The prepaid meter system allows customers to monitor their electricity consumption, allowing them to budget their consumption and expenses. It will also enable them to monitor their electricity consumption as it happens.
With the prepaid meters installed, customers are able to save up to 20 percent in terms of cost, Valdez said.
After the prepaid scheme roll out, Meralco targets the postpaid segment next.
Valdez said Meralco would file its own business rules on Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system within the first quarter next year, which is required to install the next 235,000 smart meters it applied for earlier this year.
“Next, we filed is 235,000 meters. It is not yet approved because Meralco needs to file business rules for AMI,” he said. “We are filing our own business rules on AMI within the first quarter.”
AMI is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers.The system will enable Meralco to determine what is happening in its electric grid, quickly respond to events, and restore power swiftly.
In August this year, Meralco sought approval for an additional 235,000 meters, which would cover a mix of prepaid and postpaid smart meters.
This is in line with its target to have half of its customers to be on smart meters by 2024.