Meralco-led consortium to supply power to New Clark City

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A CONSORTIUM led by Manila Electric Co. is set to supply power to New Clark City. — BW FILE PHOTO

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) has received the notice of award from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for power distribution in New Clark City, an official of the company said.

“We received notice of award,” Lawrence S. Fernandez, Meralco vice-president and head of utility economics, told reporters. “We’re going to comply with those conditions precedents so we can already sign the joint venture agreement.”

Mr. Fernandez said the award was given on Jan. 18. BCDA aims to transform New Clark City into the country’s first smart and green metropolis.

“The next milestone is signing of joint venture agreement but we have to submit other documents to the BCDA. We’re compiling those, along with our consortium partners,” he said. “Our commitment is to provide service in time for the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games.”

In December last year, BCDA said the Meralco-led consortium offered the lowest power distribution rate for New Clark City. The consortium, which includes Marubeni Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., and Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc., submitted a tariff bid of P0.6188 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The rate is lower than the P0.9888/kWh proposal put forward by the Aboitiz-KEPCO consortium of Olongapo Energy Corp. Both bids were below the P1.25/kWh tariff limit set by BCDA.

The first phase of the New Clark City development covers the construction of the so-called National Government Administrative Center and sports facilities, which will host the SEA Games this year.

FURTHER SCRUTINY
Meanwhile, Meralco’s pending advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) application is undergoing further scrutiny from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to minimize its impact to consumers.

In a statement, ERC said it was conducting “further study pertinent to the smart meters for the AMI” considering that its initial calculations showed an average rate adjustment of P0.2309/kWh will be added to consumers’ electric meters if the smart meters will be shared by all Meralco customers.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes VST Devanadera said the average rate adjustment would be P0.3972/kWh if the meters are charged only to Meralco’s bulk customers.

Meralco filed its application for approval of its AMI project with the ERC in March 2017. It included the smart meters and other devices and systems necessary to implement the project in its application for capital expenditures in April 2017.

“We welcome these state-of-the-art technologies that will help consumers manage their electricity consumption. However, we must see to it that the installation of [AMI] should not adversely affect the consumers in terms of paying higher electricity rates,” Ms. Devanadera said.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Victor V. Saulon