Meralco to launch smart grid by 2013

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2012 05:41 PM | Updated as of May 31 2012 01:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Do you want to control your electricity consumption while you are in office, out of town or even out of the country? You can do that soon when Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) introduces the smart grid system in 2013.

Meralco's technology provider demonstrated a system where a consumer can monitor all the electrical appliances at home while he is at work or away from home.

Through a modem where all appliances are connected, a consumer can monitor through his cellphone which appliances are working and how much wattage each appliance consumes.

The consumer can also turn on or turn off the appliance or monitor if the household help or kid is using an appliance while the parents are away.

According to Paresh Patel, president and CEO of technology provider SLS, the system will enable the consumer to save between 10% to 20% in electricty costs.

But there's a catch: consumers will have to pay for the in-house energy management controller for $199 and the smart plugs for $35. Meralco will also have to install a smart meter.

Meralco vice president Tony Valdez said this system is more suited for those who live in condominiums or those who have extra money to buy these gadgets.

Meralco plans to bundle this service through monthly subscription. Valdez said the smart system offers convenience to consumers.

The Energy Regulatory Commission said it is still studying Meralco's application for the smart grid system, since this will require construction of the needed infrastructure.

ERC executive director Francis Juan said while the direction is really convergence of the power industry and technology, consumers will still have a choice between conventional mode of electricity supply or the technologically enhanced service offered by providers.