THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) needs to spend over P7 million to replace facilities damaged by Typhoon Ompong that struck the island of Luzon in September.
A total of 351 distribution assets were damaged. These included poles, wires, distribution transformers, overhead line materials and hardware. The replacement cost for all the damaged facilities is estimated to reach P7,132,965.46.
The bulk of the replacement cost was earmarked for the 83 damaged poles costing P3,176,827.32.
Eleven distribution transformers will cost P2,030,806.63 to be replaced.
There were 101 damaged wires, as well. Meralco said P1,246,250.74 is needed to replace these.
Also, there were 156 overhead line materials and hardware damaged. The replacement cost for these is P679,080.77.
'This was the strongest typhoon to hit our franchise this year. The damage was mostly from poles due to big branches of trees or uprooted trees that landed in our distribution facilities. These were the most common causes of major outages during the time,' Meralco Senior Vice President Ronnie Aperocho said.
The utility firm also reported that 220 circuits, or 31 percent of its 707 operational circuits, were affected. Moreover, 3.18 million customers, or 49 percent of Meralco customers, were affected by momentary and sustained interruptions.
The Meralco call center received 10,382 complaints on September 15 and 16, most or 8,458 were not power-related concerns.
Aperocho said Meralco expects more typhoons to hit its franchise area. The company is doubling efforts to make its facilities resilient.
It had asked regulators to approve its 2019 capital expenditures (capex) in the amount of P21.46 billion. Of this amount, it proposed a capex of P8.70 billion for 27 major projects and P12.72 billion for 36 residual projects.
The bulk of the proposed capex is programmed for the expansion of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which costs P2.37 billion, followed by distribution transformers worth P1.78 billion listed under the residual projects.
'Meralco's regulatory year 2019 capex program is geared toward providing reliable service to its customers by creating an adequate, safe, efficient and viable distribution network, while providing the needed capacity to address the forecasted load growth within its franchise area,' it said.
The proposed capex program is necessary to meet growth in peak demand and customer connections; to ensure sustained network efficiency; to enhance its distribution network; to comply with regulatory requirements; and to support government's public-private partnership programs.
Meralco forecasts a 4.5-percent growth in peak demand and a 3.6-percent growth in customer base.
It also pointed out that capex is required to maintain existing assets, improve network performance and enhance customer service performance. Technology projects will allow it to enhance its distribution network, enabling it to respond effectively to line and network outages, which will reduce service interruptions of customers.
(c) 2018 Business Mirror Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers