ERC approves Meralco’s P8.575-billion 2017 capex

by Lenie LecturaJuly 29, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has provisionally approved a capital expenditure (capex) of P8.575 billion for the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to be spent during its 2017 regulatory year, or from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The approved amount is lower than the P15.417-billion figure it applied for, and only covers nine out of the 23 major projects and 37 out of the 82 residual projects.

“The commission finds merit in applicant’s allegations. The factual milieu surrounding the application satisfies the substantial requirements for the grant of provisional authority,” the ERC said in its 38-page decision.

The nine major projects and 37 residual projects favored by the ERC were granted provisional approval, “as they are necessary in order that [Meralco] can comply with existing regulatory standards.”

Moreover, these projects are aimed at addressing issues on distribution capacity, safety, protection and reliability, the ERC said.

The provisionally approved major projects have a total cost of P1,027,776,786. These nine projects are the following: Uprating of San Miguel 20MVA power transformer bank, worth P87,986,830; extension of Santa Maria  115-kiloVolt (kV)-34.5-kV substation, worth P204,286,747; extension of Cubao 115-kV-34.5-kV GIS substation, worth P142,358,767; expansion of CPIP 115-kV-34.5-kV substation worth P216,580,212; uprating of 115-kV power circuit breakers at Balintawak substation, worth P118,252,038; construction of Biñan-Rohm-LIIP 115-kV line, worth P143,038,512; replacement of power transformer at Marikina substation, worth P57,636,840; replacement of power transformer at Malibay substation, worth P57,636,840; and relocation of Meralco’s electrical facilities that are affected by the construction of the national government’s public-private partnership projects, worth P112,263,464.

The total cost of the 37 provisionally approved residual projects amounts to P7,729,923,086. These projects, said the ERC, are necessary to cater new loads and support the daily operations and maintenance of Meralco’s distribution network.

“This would, in turn, ensure safe, reliable and efficient service to its customers,” the commission said.

Meralco said the implementation of the capex projects will have no immediate impact on the retail rate charged by Meralco to its customers.

“The commission notes that any adjustment to Meralco’s distribution, supply and metering charge resulting from the implementation of its capex programs will be subject of an application once Meralco undergoes the Reset Process for its fourth regulatory period,” the ERC said.

The ERC recently approved Meralco’s 2016 regulatory-year capex program amounting to P15.47 billion, lower than the utility firm’s proposed amount of P17.7 billion.

The approved projects for the said period, from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, covers only 47 projects out of the 56 proposed projects.

The approval of nine projects was deferred without prejudice to refiling, the ERC said.