Meralco to roll out 1-M prepaid meters
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is rolling out a million prepaid meters once it gets the green light from regulators to cope with growing demand.
The power distributor has filed for approval to install nearly a million meters in the past three years, Meralco senior vice president Alfredo Panlilio told The STAR.
“We have filed close to one million meters with ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) awaiting approval,” he said.
However, the go-ahead for these new smart meters will follow the clearance for the business rules for its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project.
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, thereby improve overall operational efficiency.
It will also allow customers to efficiently manage their energy usage and budget through consumption information, alerts and notifications.
“We are awaiting for ERC approval on business rules then hopefully their approval for more smart meters,” Panlilio said.
In the meantime, Meralco is set to install all the smart meters approved by the ERC next year, the company official said.
“We should consume all the approved 145,000 by next year,” Panlilio said.
As of end-September, Meralco has activated a total of 96,717 prepaid meters. The power distributor said average per capita monthly consumption of prepaid metering accounts increased to 142 kilowatt-hours (kWh) from 136 kWh.
Meralco is targeting to have half of its total customers shift to smart meters in the next eight years. So far, it has a customer base of 6.54 million accounts.
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.
Based on Meralco’s consumer research, customers who shifted from postpaid to prepaid are able to effectively monitor their consumption daily via SMS and as a result, they can save an average of 20 percent on electricity consumption, translating to total savings of around P300 per customer.