By Myrna M. Velasco
With an expanding customer base and demand growth, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) indicated that it already spent P11 billion on accelerated utilization of programmed capital expenditures (capex), aligned with its target of hastening connection of customers.
Ronnie L. Aperocho, first vice president and head of networks of Meralco, noted that the company has already used up more than 90-percent of its budgeted capital outlay this year.
“To address load growth requirements of our customers and to renew our dilapidated or aging assets, we have already utilized P11 billion of our capex budget – so that represents 92% of our P12 billion budget for calendar year 2019,” the utility firm executive said.
He emphasized that such had been anchored on the instruction of Meralco President Ray C. Espinosa so the company can “somehow facilitate the sort of faster connection of our customers to the grid.”
The reinforced capital injection on projects, he said, is also mainly targeted on underpinning the Build, Build, Build (BBB) infrastructure program of the Philippine government.
On top of installing new capacities to meet the load growth requirements of our customers, the faster capex spending is also aligned with the “Build, Build, Build or the PPP (public-private sector partnership) sort of initiatives just to really support the government on these key infrastructure projects,” Aperocho said.
In recent years, the company has not just been expanding and building up the capacity of its load networks, but it has likewise been relocating poles and its distribution facilities being traversed by the State’s infrastructure ventures.
Among the latest capex projects completed by Meralco had been the 115-kilovolt 34.5 GIS substation at the Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa, one of the business districts in the country’s major economic core of Metro Manila.
The power utility company has likewise addressed ‘critical loading” in its distribution network through the installation of digital communication protocol, including those in Hillcrest Cainta and SM Shangrila substations, and such are seen benefitting customers in Pasig City and Quezon City.
Parallel system improvements are similarly being carried out in the company’s subsidiary – the Clark Electric Distribution Corporation, which is mainly servicing New Clark City north of Manila – especially so because this will be paramount in the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games this year.
“We have completed the installation of the facilities, the electrical facilities to serve the requirement of the Southeast Asian Games to be held latter part of this year,” Aperocho stressed.
He added that an interim 33-megavolt ampere (MVA) substation had been installed and energized, alongside the 13.8-kV overhead lines which had also been correspondingly connected to the existing sub-transmission lines.