Meralco adding P18 billion to capex in 2016

by Lenie Lectura – December 22, 2015

from Business Mirror

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is earmarking P17.5 billion to P18 billion in capital expenditure (capex) next year, its president said.

“Our capex for 2016 is about P18.5 billion,” said Oscar S. Reyes, who added, “let’s put it this way, it’s P17.5 billion to P18 billion for next year.” He said proceeds would be earmarked for existing projects. But from 2016 to 2020, Meralco may set aside P65 billion to P70 billion in investments, he said.

“The demand will continue to grow. Basically, demand will probably grow in Luzon of about 250 to 300 megawatts [MW] of peak demand per year,” Reyes said.

Meralco has set aside a capex of P13.5 billion to P14.5 billion this year. In 2014 Meralco’s capex stood at P12.6 billion.

The capex, Reyes said, is meant “to continue to meet [the] growing number of customer accounts [which is] increasing at 4 percent to 5 percent per annum.”

“We also want to ensure that our facilities are hardened to be able to cope with the new normal in terms of typhoons,” Reyes added.

Meralco has formed a renewable-energy unit called MSpectrum, which “aspires” to initially install 100 MW of solar power within the utility firm’s franchise area. But Reyes said the budget to operate MSpectrum is not included in the P18-billion capex. “It will be separate,” he said.

Aside from solar panels, Pangilinan earlier said his group is also eyeing venturing into battery storage.

“Eventually, that will be part because you have to store the power. We will just install the solar panels first,” he said.