Meralco nears full electrification in franchise area

Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is now inching closer to pulling off 100-percent electrification in its franchise service areas Metro Manila and neighboring provinces where households have mostly power connection.

The power company’s achievement of full electrification is targeted ahead of the 2022 timeframe set by the Duterte administration. Apart from Metro Manila, Meralco also provides electricity services to end-users in Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and some parts of Quezon.

In a status report, the utility firm noted that “from only 492 priority sites energized in May, Meralco was able to hit its target to power up 536 priority sites.”

Following that milestone, the power firm emphasized that “some 19,332 households are now enjoying the benefits of efficient and reliable electricity as of June 2021.”

Meralco earmarked P1 billion budget for the electrification of the remaining sites under its franchise area -- including those that had just been extended recently with electricity service connections; and the rest that are still on process of getting energized.

As stated by Meralco Spokesperson and Vice President for Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga, “our commitment to provide electric service to our unserved and underserved customers through our Meralco Electrification Program projects is on track.”

He qualified that the company has “identified and are energizing the remaining households to fully energize our entire franchise area.”

Zaldarriaga said the State-enforced community quarantines came off as a challenge in their electrification drive, “but this did not stop us from ensuring our commitment to continuously provide adequate, stable and reliable power to all our customers, especially that electricity plays a very crucial role amid the country’s ongoing vaccination program.”

Meralco stressed that while its electrification program serves as a direct response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) call for intensified energization strategy of the government, its provision of electricity services within its service jurisdictions has always been a continuing commitment to its customers.

Beyond energy access it has been providing to grid-connected end-users, the power utility firm is similarly broadening its energization target to also cover those in the ‘small islands’ and far-flung areas that are within its franchise’s domain.

“To totally electrify hard-to-reach places, such as small islands, Meralco has taken the initiative to serve these areas using microgrid systems powered by renewable energy,” the power firm noted.

As explained by Meralco, these microgrid systems “use solar power backed up by batteries and diesel generators to ensure uninterrupted electric service.”

To date, Meralco’s customer count already reached 7.2 million – and of the total, 92-percent accounted for residential consumers; while the balance of 8.0-percent is a mix of commercial, industrial and other types of end-users.