The Energy Regulatory Commission is yet to act on the Manila Electric Company’s (MERALCO) plan to replace the existing traditional electric meter, currently being used by its customer with a smart meter, as the Commission is currently evaluating the cost implications to minimize its impact to the consumers.
According to ERC Spokesperson Rexie Baldo-Digal, the said replacement will entail additional charges to the customers of the electric company. He added that the P10-billion worth to be spent for the said undertaking is equivalent to an additional P0.23 per kilowatt hour (kWh) if the said charge will be shared among all Meralco customer. On the other hand, the additional average rate adjustment will be pegged at P0.397 per kWh, if the additional cost will be charged only to Meralco’s bulk customers.
ERC said that in case the planned replacement will be approved, the recovery period may be shortened to lower the additional charges to the customers.
On the other hand, Meralco gave an assurance that the additional charges will be compensated with benefits to the customer.
The Advanced Metering Infrastructure
In March 2017, the Meralco filed its application for the approval of its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) before the ERC, in accordance with the rules governing the implementation of AMI by distribution utilities and other ERC-authorized entities. The said application will involve one million smart meters.
Relative with the said AMI application, Meralco has included smart meters and other systems and devices, necessary for the implementation of its AMI project when the electric company filed its capital expenditures application in April of the same year.
AMI implementation will promote demand-side management and energy efficiency while providing tools and services meant to empower consumers to manage their consumption. Aside from this, AMI is also seen to enhance the operational efficiency of the distribution utility and reliability of its network and support Retail Competition and Open Access.