Meralco completes P20.8-B 2020 capex

Published March 8, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has spent its P20.8 billion worth of capital expenditure (capex) undertakings last year with the completion of electric and non-electric projects.

According to Meralco, the firm’s capital spending last year was higher by 3.0-percent versus 2019, “despite the challenges faced due to community quarantine restrictions.”

Atty. Jose Ronald V. Valles, first vice president and regulatory head of Meralco, indicated that the utility firm also applied with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for P20 billion worth of capex for programmed projects for 2021.

The company emphasized that the bulk of electric capital projects (ECPs) last year include new and uprating of 115-kilovolt lines, “and expansion of existing distribution and delivery-point substations to address the increasing capacity requirements.”

It added that “significant ECPs were implemented as well to rehabilitate and uprate distribution transformers and lines to accommodate work-from-home and online distance learning arrangements.”

On the firm’s capex for distribution network expansion and uprating, Meralco First Vice President and Head of Networks Ronnie L. Aperocho stated that the company had surpassed its capital outlay utilization in 2020, reaching a level of 129-percent to P12.03 billion vis-à-vis the budgeted amount of P9.34 billion.

Of the projects implemented, he expounded that P3.49 billion had been injected to new connections; P3.70 billion had been funneled to asset renewals; P3.28 billion for load growth; P0.52 billion for non-network ventures; P0.68 billion for electrification; and P0.34 billion for projects supporting the Build, Build, Build infrastructure development platform of the government.

The country’s largest power distribution firm said its customer-base last year had grown 4.0-percent for a total of 7.1 million subscriber-accounts – with the new customers accounting for 249,000 accounts.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan noted “We have not lost sight of our role in providing reliable power to our customers, which will also underpin our economic recovery.”

He stressed that the company is also “cognizant of the need to future-proof our business by focusing on sustainability, and by digitalizing certain of our processes.”

For that purpose, Pangilinan indicated the utility firm will be “increasing resources allocated to clean technologies across all businesses, instituting a stronger plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and setting up science-based, measurable targets as our guidance.”

The company chairman stated that their focus this will be on catering to the needs of the economy as it preps for wider re-opening, with him emphasizing that “we are encouraged by Meralco’s January 2021 trends, including energy sold to commercial customers,” that already started to regain traction.