Meralco seeks ERC okay of P15.2-billion capex for 2020

By Lenie Lectura – July 19, 2019
from Business Mirror

Meralco linemen repair a power cable in this file photo.


THE Manila Electric Com. (Meralco) has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to approve over P15.19 billion in capital expenditure (capex) for 2020 to jumpstart 71 crucial projects that are critical to the utility firm’s distribution system.

In its nine-page application, Meralco proposed to implement 21 “very urgent” projects worth P10.458 billion and 50 residual projects worth P4.732 billion.

“There is an urgent need for a provisional authority to be issued in favor or Meralco to allow it to immediately implement its proposed very urgent Regulatory Year 2020 capex program,” said Meralco.

“Non-approval of the capex projects will severely hamper Meralco’s operations and severely affect its ability to deliver electric service to its customers. It is very imperative for Meralco to implement its very urgent RY 2020 capex projects starting July 1, 2019, for the expansion and rehabilitation of its network facilities through an acquisition of new assets in order to ensure continuous delivery of reliable service and comply with safety, performance and other regulatory requirements, while addressing the growing needs of its more than 6 million customers,” said Meralco.

The most expensive project is earmarked at P1,787,723,825 for distribution transformers, followed by P1,418,185,169 worth of poles, towers and fixtures and P1,277,646,942.worth of overhead conductors and devices.

Meralco’s proposed 71 projects are necessary to ensure the reliable operation of its distribution network and continuous distribution service and connection to meet the growing needs of customers.

Meralco expects its customer base to grow to 7 million and peak demand to increase to 7,750 megawatts by RY 2020. These upward adjustments require Meralco to increase the capacity of its electric distribution system in order to continue accommodating customer connections.

“If no capacity augmentation project has been undertaken starting July 1, 2019, Meralco would not be able to provide electric service to its existing and new customers,” it said.

Power outage

Meanwhile, more than 250,000 customers of Meralco experienced power interruption Thursday morning mainly due to a technical glitch inside the utility firm’s substation.

Meralco said  “a fault” occurred inside the Gardner substation, which resulted in the interruption of four of its downstream substations in Taguig, Urdaneta, Kamagong and BGC at around 10:53 a.m.

As a result, some parts of Makati, Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan and Taguig City experienced power interruption. This affected 258,997 customers situated in Makati and FBGC Business Districts and other surrounding areas.

Power was restored at 11:34 a.m.

“Our crews responded immediately and all affected circuits and power supply were restored at 11:34 a.m. Currently, our crews are still in our Gardner Substation to investigate this incident,” said Meralco Spokeman Joe Zaldarriaga, adding that the cause of the outage has yet to be determined.

Image Credits: Nonie Reyes