Meralco pushes use of prepaid meters

by Lenie Lectura – December 13, 2015

from Business Mirror

THE Manila Electric Co. (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 [sm Development Corp.] and Megaworld. There are still others. They are exploring it,” Meralco Senior Vice President Alfredo Panlilio said.

Panlilio said timing is crucial since there is no approval yet from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the distribution company to install an additional 100,000 prepaid electricity meters. “We are not pressing too hard at the moment because we don’t have enough meters to install. At the same time, these developers can’t wait for us. They have project timelines to follow also,” Panlilio said.

These property developers are Meralco’s target customers for the additional 100,000 meters that it plans to install.

Meralco cannot install these until they secure the green light from the ERC.

A check with the ERC revealed that Meralco’s application is still being deliberated.

Lawyer Vanessa Reynoso of the ERC said the commission awaits the submission of the comments of several entities before Meralco’s application is deemed submitted for resolution.

“Once all required submissions are in, the commission can already start deliberating on the matter,” she added.

Meralco has, so far, installed between 18,000 and 19,000 prepaid meters out of the 40,000 units that had been approved for rollout by the ERC. The remaining 20,000 meters would be installed and activated within the first quarter of 2016, Panlilio said.

“We hope to finish the entire 40,000 by first quarter of next year. We are close to 20,000 now. Around 18,000 to 19,000 meters activated already. We’ve slowed down a bit because we wanted to make sure that the coverage was in place,” Panlilio added.

Pilot tests for Meralco’s prepaid retail electricity service (PRES) were conducted starting February 2014. PRES is now available in Manila and parts of Angono, Taytay and Cainta in Rizal. Manila is fully covered, Panlilio said.

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

Both companies entered into a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of PRES to 8990 Holdings’s 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.

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.

The system will enable customers to monitor their electricity consumption, balance, credit purchase history and account information.