by Riza T. Olchondra – 12:56 AM February 29th, 2016
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is turning to an emergency capital expenditure (capex) program for 2016, spending only on urgent projects to maintain service levels and cope with growing demand for electricity in its franchise area, as regulators have not yet responded to its petition for a bigger budget.
Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said in a briefing that the company had submitted to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) an application for a capital expenditure program of P18 billion.
“The capex we submitted as early as February 2015 is needed to respond to load growth… We are hopeful that action will be forthcoming,” Reyes said.
In its application, Meralco estimated around 4-percent growth in demand for 2016. For the past 10 years, power demand growth in its franchise area averaged 3 to 3.2 percent. But the past year, 2015, saw banner growth of 5.6 percent to 37,124 gigawatt-hours (GWh).
“The good news is that the economy is growing. We have to make sure that we have the supply. It (matching supply with demand growth) hinges on the capex as well,” company chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a separate interview.