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Meralco to achieve full electrification in franchise area

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Meralco to achieve full electrification in franchise area
Meralco said it was able to hit its target to power up 536 priority sites, an increase from the 492 priority sites energized in May.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it is on track to achieve full electrification within its franchise area in line with the government’s goal of providing all Filipinos access to electricity by 2022.

Meralco said it was able to hit its target to power up 536 priority sites, an increase from the 492 priority sites energized in May.

Some 19,332 households are now enjoying the benefits of efficient and reliable electricity as of June, Meralco said.

“Our commitment to provide electric service to our unserved and underserved customers through our Meralco electrification program projects is on track. We have also identified and are energizing the remaining households to fully energize our entire franchise area,” Meralco spokesperson and VP for corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said in a statement.

“The imposition of community quarantines was indeed a challenge, but this did not stop us from ensuring our commitment to continuously provide adequate, stable and reliable power to all our customers, especially as electricity plays a very crucial role amid the country’s ongoing vaccination program,” he said.

While Meralco’s electrification program was in response to the Department of Energy’s calls to distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) to power up the entire Philippines, it has always been one of the company’s core commitments to its customers.

In 2019, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi directed all DUs and ECs to “attain 100 percent household electrification by 2022.”

To totally electrify hard to reach places such as small islands, Meralco has taken the initiative to serve these areas using microgrid systems powered by renewable energy. These systems use solar power backed up by batteries and diesel generators to ensure uninterrupted electric service.

The utility firm reportedly budgeted more than P1 billion for its electrification program, with the bulk allocated for the southern part of its coverage area.

Meralco is the largest power distributor in the Philippines, serving Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces of Bulacan Cavite and Rizal and parts of Laguna, Batangas and Quezon.

At the end of the first quarter, Meralco’s customer count reached 7.2 million. Of the total, 92 percent come from the residential sector, while eight percent from commercial, and the balance from industrial.

The company’s social development arm, One Meralco Foundation (OMF) also complements the energization program with its own efforts in household and school electrification.

Under school electrification, OMF typically installs three-kilowatt solar PV systems to power lights, fans and learning tools in off-grid schools.

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