MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, is looking to increase its capital expenditures (capex) this year by at least 15 percent to P14.5 billion.
The amount is higher by almost P2 billion than last year’s P12.6 billion capital spending.
“I think for this year, we are probably looking at P13.5 billion and potentially up to P14.5 billion,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes told reporters.
He said the planned capex increase this year would be directed to meet growing power demand due to continued growth in its customers base.
“It’s all directed at five things—one is continue to meet the growing number of customer accounts [which has been]increasing at 4 to 5 percent per annum,” he said.
The company, he added, should also be able to respond to load growth and decrease in energy sales.
Reyes said the target capex will also be utilized for the maintenance and upgrade of Meralco’s facilities.
“We have to ensure that our facilities are upgraded in terms of safety and resiliency for the
benefit of customers and the public,” he said.
In maintaining the company’s facilities, Reyes said they want to make sure that these will be hardened to be able to cope with the new normal in terms of typhoons.
“We are now seeing a potential of 285 km/h winds,” he added.
Moreover, Reyes said the capex will also be allocated for the firm’s prepaid retail electricity service.
“The prepaid retail electricity service has been very exciting for customers because it enables them to have real-time information on consumption and to manage their own electricity spending,” he said.
Meralco’s P12.6 billion capex last year was 24 percent higher than the previous year’s spending of P10.2 billion.
Electric capital projects (ECPs) accounted for the greater portion of the expenditures to meet growth in power demand and enhance customer experience, as well as improve the distribution system to ensure reliability, power quality, and resiliency in the face of natural calamities and other contingencies.
The ECPs also added 12 MVA [megavolt amperes]of substation capacity and 31 kilometers (km) of primary distribution lines.
This brought the total substation capacity to 16,381 MVA and total primary circuit length to 17,409 kms.