Meralco outlines cost of DU disaster-resiliency program

A proposed Department of Energy (DOE) policy meant to ensure that energy-related facilities are resilient enough to continue providing power in case of disasters will entail additional investments on industry players, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) told the agency.

Meralco, in a comment submitted to the agency, said the adoption of resiliency measures will require additional capital expenditures (capex) and operational expenditures (opex). As such, distribution utilities (DUs), such as Meralco, would need to be allowed to recover the expenses consequent to these resiliency measures within a reasonable period.

“In the case of regulated entities, such as DUs, the recovery of capital and operational expenses is subject to the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission [ERC],” Meralco said.

The utility firm did not say how much should be set aside to comply with the proposed policy.

The energy-resiliency policy, dubbed as the “Adoption of Resiliency Planning and Program in the Energy Industry to Mitigate Adverse Effects Brought About by Disasters,” is anchored on President Duterte’s directive to heighten disaster resilience.

Among others, the proposed policy seeks to strengthen the existing energy infrastructure and systems; institutionalize the “build back better” principle; improve existing disaster-resilience operations; and develop resiliency practices, systems and standards.

“With this policy, we are building with the industry players a structure on how to plan and address human-induced disasters that compromise existing power facilities,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi earlier said.

Cusi added that the issuance of this policy will cement the DOE’s commitment to mainstream disaster risk reduction to increase the reliability of energy systems and reduce their vulnerability to disasters.

“We are fast-tracking the issuance and implementation of the energy-resiliency policy as this would guide us, especially in rebuilding Marawi City,” Cusi added.

Meralco also said that industry players may need more time to prepare their respective resiliency-compliance plans. It proposed to extend to 90 days from 60 days upon the effectivity of the policy within which industry participants shall submit their respective resiliency-compliance plans.

It also proposed that updates be submitted annually instead of quarterly, as no significant changes may be reported quarterly.