By Myrna M. Velasco
Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has forked out over P12 billion capital expenditures (capex) as of March this year for various projects particularly network reinforcement, as well as relocation of facilities being traversed by various infrastructure projects of the government.
Of the amount, Meralco indicated that it spent P5.14 billion for new customer connections; P2.22 billion for addressing load growth and P3.51 billion for asset renewals. Meralco sets its capex covering regulatory year July to June of the following year.
Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company “remains committed to investing the requisite capex to continue improving its distribution infrastructure of services, for conventional and renewable generation, as well as for value-adding businesses complementary to our core electric power business.”
Company President Oscar S. Reyes further indicated that part of the utility firm’s network improvement will be making its facilities smarter and customer-friendly, so it can serve customers better in a highly digitized world.
“While network facilities remain to be hard assets taking up large parcels of land or vertical spaces of a building, Meralco’s network and customer-facing infrastructure platforms and systems are much smarter today and will become more so with continuous innovation and incorporation of digital options.”
He stressed, “In this rapidly changing environment, it is imperative that we always be ahead of the curve and be unrelenting in our delivery of the best customer experience through our capex execution.”
Among the capex projects pursued have been the development of the Southwoods 115-kilovolt-34.5kV substation; the construction of the San Jose delivery point’s additional 115kV line; and the development of the Calamba 230kV substation.
Further, the utility firm replaced 167 overloaded distribution transformers – partly also to address load growth within its network.
Meralco also set expansion of its Filinvest 115kV-34.5 GIS substation as well as the installation of Zapote (Las Piñas) 5th 300-megavolt ampere power transformer; as well as other substation and network upgrade projects.
In addition, the company shelled out massive capital outlay for ventures that will underpin the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development paradigm.