Meralco installs 27,000 prepaid meters already approved by ERC

by Lenie LecturaJune 10, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has installed 27,000 prepaid meters out of the 40,000 units approved for rollout by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

“Our prepaid [meters] are now at 27,000. We will install more to complete the 40,000 meters approved by the ERC,” Meralco Senior Vice President Alfredo Panlilio said in an interview.

The prepaid meters are part of the utility firm’s Prepaid Retail Electricity Service (PRES), which enables customers to monitor their electricity consumption, balance, credit-purchase history and account information.

Meralco has applied to install an additional 100,000 prepaid meters in March 2015. The application was recently approved by the regulators as part of the utility firm’s capital expenditure for regulatory year (RY) 2016.

When asked about Meralco’s rollout plans for the recently approved 100,000 meters, Panlilio said the company has yet to proceed with the rollout “since we have yet to formally receive it.” The Meralco official was referring to the ERC decision approving the company’s capex for RY 2016, which covers the July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, period.

The additional 100,000 meters are targeted for installation in major cities in Metro Manila and nearby areas, including Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Cainta, Taytay and Angono.

Panlilio said those who subscribed to Meralco PRES have experienced savings in their power consumption compared to postpaid service.

“They are able to save about 18 percent,” the Meralco official said.

Pilot tests for the PRES were conducted starting February 2014. PRES is now available in Manila, and parts of Angono, Taytay, and Cainta in Rizal province. Manila is fully covered.

Meralco has tapped General Electric as the system integrator for the advanced metering structure of the service; Orga Systems for the billing aspect of the service; and Ecologic Analytics for the meter-data management system.

Customers may purchase credits—in denominations of P100, P200, P300, P500 or P1,000—at Meralco business centers, Bayad Center outlets, and participating retail outlets like sari-sari stores, convenience stores, drugstores, and department stores.

Aside from individual customers, the power distributor is offering its retail electricity service for housing projects in Metro Manila and in the towns of Taytay, Cainta, and Angono in Rizal.

Meralco continues to persuade property developers to utilize prepaid-electricity meters in their housing projects.

“We are talking to a lot of developers like SMDC and Megaworld. There are still others. They are exploring it,” Panlilio said.

Property developer 8990 Holdings Inc. earlier tapped Meralco’s PRES for its project sites.

Both firms entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the implementation of PRES to 8990 Holdings’ property developments, starting with Bella Vista, which is under its Deca Homes brand.

Meralco President Oscar Reyes said Bella Vista is the first private subdivision enrolled in PRES, providing its homeowners a more flexible, convenient and budget-friendly option that fits a modern family lifestyle.