UP to kick off power retail aggregation phase
By MYRNA M. VELASCO
The era of retail competition in the restructured electricity sector will finally enter the “aggregation phase” starting off with the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City which contiguous areas and their end-users within adjacent sites can already pool their power requirement so they can directly contract for their electricity needs.
The incursion of “retail aggregation” under the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) policy of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) had been given go-signal by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the pilot project will be implemented by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and the University of the Philippines.
With aggregation, it was emphasized that “two or more electricity end-users within a contiguous area can join together to pool their demand and be treated as a single contestable customer, thereby enabling it to participate in the RCOA.”
Contestable customers are those end-users whose scale of electricity consumption – currently at 500 kilowatts – can already negotiate and contract directly with their preferred retail electricity suppliers (RES) in the RCOA space.
According to Meralco, the country’s premier state university “signified its intent to explore retail choice mechanisms…to reduce the government’s monthly electricity consumption.”
The utility firm specified that the pilot implementation of retail aggregation will be done in phases to cover 149 customer-accounts within the campus with combined demand of up to 4.27 megawatts.
Being a state-run academic institution, UP is covered by the mandate of the Inter-Agency Efficiency and Conservation Committee (IAECC) for it to pare its energy consumption by at least 10-percent, a policy set forth under the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP) as prescribed under Republic Act 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act.
Meralco indicated that for UP Diliman to be provided with what it needs to be classified as contestable customer and for it to minimize incremental costs, the proposal is for it to “use meters with remote data collection capability and electronic tabulation of individual readings of buildings within the campus.”
As conveyed by UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, the university has been “identifying the best strategies to achieve energy efficiency and conservation.”
In his view, the retail aggregation pilot with Meralco “will lead to lower electricity consumption costs, more savings, and a more efficient means of measuring the campus’ electricity consumption.”
Concepcion stated that for “for the entire university system, this is a way for us to fulfill our mandate to harness our resources, including our campuses and academic community, toward our quest for national development, by supporting the initiatives of our government agencies, our private sector, and our communities.”
Meralco First Vice President and Head of Regulatory Management Office Atty. Jose Ronald V. Valles asserted that “beyond retail aggregation, we are hopeful that this project will be the first of many initiatives where Meralco can work with the ERC and University of the Philippines to bring innovation and customer empowerment to our kababayans.”