• Meralco to spend P40M on control system upgrade

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    THE country’s largest power distribution utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will be spending up to P40 million for the modernization of its control system to speed up the resolution of power outages.

    Ronnie Aperocho, Meralco first vice president and head of Networks, said the new Meralco System Control Center (MSCC) will provide a wider real-time system visibility.

    The MSCC will improve the situational awareness and faster turnaround time of outage resolution.Aperocho said they will be deploying smart meters next year and through the Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), they do not have to wait for their customers to call and report the power outage in their area.

    “Through the smart meters and total visibility at our system control center, even before the customer would call us, we would already have deployed our crew to fix the problem,” said Aperocho.

    Joey Alonzo, Meralco head of Systems Control, said that through the MSCC they can assess the situation of the grid.

    “Because of this, we can have visibility of the status of line, real time. We will know whether the problem is transmission, generation or distribution,” said Alonzo.

    He said the MSCC, which was inaugurated in May 2015, will put up a system control monitor measuring 4×15 meters.

    Last year, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved the application of Meralco to implement the ADMS costing P382.86 million and said Meralco needs to start the project immediately to reduce the risk posed by the current Operating Trouble Management System (OTMS) system to avoid the additional cost of maintaining an obsolete system.

    The OTMS plays a critical role in managing outages in its franchise area. It was originally designed to accommodate a five-year growth in customers and its life has actually been extended for more than 10 years.

    Meralco said the OTMS is now facing “major technical obsolescence with declarations of withdrawal from marketing and end-of-support by the vendors of its various components.”

    The OTMS, Meralco said, is becoming more difficult and costly to enhance and given its obsolete platform, it cannot interface with the other computer systems and is incapable of supporting the requirements of a modern electric distribution management system.

    In order to address the potential risks posed by technological obsolescence, Meralco proposed the migration to ADMS, which will be implemented over a 21-month period.

    Meralco said the new system will be used by 2,000 users of its System Control Center, Call Center and Operations Office.

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