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Panay Electric to spend P1.1B on innovations in next 10 years


Panay Electric Co. Public Engagement and Government Affairs head Marcelo Cacho briefs reporters on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 on the company’s capital expenditures and investment in electricity distribution innovations. Ted Cordero
Panay Electric Co. Public Engagement and Government Affairs head Marcelo Cacho briefs reporters on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 on the company’s capital expenditures and investment in electricity distribution innovations. Ted Cordero

Iloilo City’s longtime power distributor Panay Electric Co. (PECO) is planning to spend more than a billion pesos on innovations to improve services and bring down power cost.

The P1.1-billion capex plan will be sourced from internally generated funds.

“We estimate for the next 10 years we have to put in about P1.1 billion,” PECO Public Engagement and Government Affairs head Marcelo Cacho told reporters in a media roundtable in Taguig City on Wednesday.

Among the innovations in energy distribution PECO is investing in are smart metering and net metering.

Smart metering allows customers to include prepaid metering, real-time wireless meter reading, automatic disconnection, and reconnection.

“Smart metering also empowers the customers through an online web portal where they can see their meter readings real-time, with meter reading update every 15 minutes. We are now testing the online portal which will be launched next year,” Cacho noted.

The company is targeting to replace all old meters with smart meters in five years for all its 64,000 customers.

Some 2,000 smart meters have already been installed and another 2,000 will be delivered within the year, according to PECO.

“We’re expecting an investment close to P205 million ... It’s P205 million just to replace the meters, so it’ll be fully automated system,” Cacho said.

In net metering project, PECO customers may install solar panel systems in their houses and throw back to the company the excess power generated—a scheme that gives customers additional credits in their regular electricity bills.

“Our net metering system further gives our customers the power of choice, because now they can choose to generate their own electricity and save money in the process,” Cacho said.

Another innovation is the smart grid project.

“A smart grid is an electric system enhanced with innovative digital technologies that detect problems in the system and initiate self-healing processes,” Cacho noted.

“With the smart grid, consumers can experience improved reliability, better service, and greater control over their energy use,” he added.

PECO is putting in automatic circuit reclosers, smart sectionalizers, and fault indicators as part of the smart grid.

“In automating the entire system, the savings will come from reliability ... reduction in losses, reduction in outages, all of these ...” Cacho said.

Another innovation in energy distribution that PECO is into is “Pasa Kuryente”—a service which allows solar panel owners to pass on to other consumers any excess power generated from their system.

The capital expenditure program will include two to three new substations to support the power needs of upcoming developments in Iloilo City, particularly by Megaworld Corp., Gaisano group, and a local developer in Panay.

PECO has been Iloilo City’s distribution utility in the last 95 years. —VDS, GMA News