Meralco sets P18-B capex for 2016 to reinforce system

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Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has set capital expenditures (capex) for next year at between P17.5 billion and P18 billion, President and CEO Oscar Reyes said on Tuesday.

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Reyes said the amount would be for Meralco alone and that subsidiaries were not covered. The capex is intended for expansion and reinforcement of the utility’s distribution system.

The company is also planning to pursue innovations and increasingly digitize its service networks next year.

Meralco’s 2016 capex is 20 percent higher than this year’s programmed outlay if P15 billion.

In a petition for the approval of its proposed capex, Meralco said the allocation was geared towards ensuring the safety, reliability, efficiency, and performance of its distribution system, given an anticipated higher electricity demand in its franchise area.

Meralco said its distribution infrastructure should be sufficient to serve its current customers while preparing to meet future demand.

One of the company’s proposed projects is a meter conversion program costing P1.278 billion.

The program is for “the retail competition and open access (RCOA) regime in the restructured electricity sector,”

Meralco said its distribution transformers would also command massive capital outlay, just like its meters, instruments, and metering transformers.

Reyes said the company was planning to spend P65 billion to P70 billion within five years starting 2016 for distribution.

He added that the company’s investments in Meralco PowerGen (MGen) and in renewables would different and independent capital expenditures.

Meralco is creating a separate unit for its renewable energy (RE) foray called MSpectrum, which is already in the development stage.

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