FIRST Philippine Holdings Corp. is preparing microgrids for underserved communities, its chief executive said on Thursday, as he disclosed Camarines Sur to be the location of the first batch.

“We just built three of them in CamSur and hope to commission them by next month, but they’re already up there and we want to run them very soon,” FPH Chief Executive Officer Federico R. Lopez said during a forum hosted by the Makati Business Club.

“We’re setting up microgrids around the country in areas that are, what you call edge of grid, where the cooperatives that are serving them can barely serve these communities anymore,” he said.

These communities are said to only receive power for eight to 10 hours a day. FPH hopes that these microgrids will allow them to have access to electricity for 24 hours to help with their comfort and their livelihoods.

Right now, half the kilowatt-hours of the said communities are powered by renewables, while the other half is sourced from diesel.

“But over time, what we want to do is increase the amount of kilowatt-hours that is being served by renewables and eventually phase out that diesel when it’s cheap enough,” Mr. Lopez said.

However, the company said this will not be part of its CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. The project is being tested for its feasibility.

“We’re looking at the ability to do things like these that enable again communities that need to be brought up that curve and… to enable prosperity also,” Mr. Lopez said. “We’re looking at ways to do that profitably because if we can’t do it profitably, you can’t scale it and you can’t continue doing it.”

On Thursday, shares of FPH at the stock market rose by 0.68% or 50 centavos to close at P74.50 each. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte