US agency inks deal with PH utility firm on smart grid venture

by Myrna Velasco – November 19, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

Smart grid is the way of the future for the power industry, even for emerging countries like the Philippines – thus, that had been the centerpiece of an agreement that was inked by the United States Trade and Development Agency (US-TDA) with Filipino utility firm Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company, Inc.

The US agency has extended the grant that will be utilized for the conduct of a feasibility study on the smart grid plan of the Philippine utility firm – primarily the rollout of intelligent metering system.

“The grant is funding for a feasibility study that will help CEPALCO develop a technical scope and implementation plan for an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) pilot project,” the US-TDA has emphasized in its announcement to the media.

On a wider sphere, the grant shall also support the utilization of the Cagayan de Oro-based power firm of smart grid technologies “to manage, monitor, and distribute electricity more efficiently.”

According to US-TDA director Leocadia I. Zak, “it is vital to ensure that energy resources are distributed and consumed as effectively as possible, and that requires innovative technology solutions.”

She stressed that the American agency was enticed to support CEPALCO’s smart grid goals, as such had been considered “one of the most effective solutions for distributing and consuming power.”

The deployment of smart grid solutions in electricity systems is seen improving the efficiency of their operations and will similarly enhance the feedback mechanism they can extract from consumers’ end, hence, response time to technical troubles could be managed on real-time basis.

The agreement with the Philippine power utility firm on the smart grid plan was signed between Zak and CEPALCO chief executive officer Ed Bautista.

The feasibility study, it was emphasized, shall consider preliminary analysis on technical, economic and financial deployment of a smart grid pilot venture.

“The pilot project aims to install 2,000 smart meters and the supporting communications infrastructure in CEPALCO’s franchise area,” the US-TDA said.

Taking off from that, the US agency has noted that CEPALCO’s ultimate goal is to “implement smart grid technologies that can optimize its distribution services, increase power reliability and reduce electricity losses.”