Group to power distributors: Rush rollout of smart metering system

To keep track and control consumers’ power consumption in real time and prevent electricity “bill shock,” the Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM), has called on government agencies to fast-track the implementation of the smart metering system in the Philippines.

AGHAM issued the call after three resolutions were filed directing the House Committee on Energy to look into the sudden big spike in electricity rates and bills of power consumers.

The resolution was filed by Makabayan bloc, ACT-CIS Party-list and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte.

AGHAM President Angelo B. Palmones, in a news statement, urged the Department of Energy and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to start using smart meters, which will empower and enable consumers to be able to manage their electricity consumption.

“If we are able to use smart meters on a wide-scale basis, this will be a win for both consumers and for the power industry,” he said.

“For example, if we had smart meters already during the ECQ [enhanced community quarantine], there would have been no need to do estimated meter-reading, since the 150 distribution utilities in the country could have read meters remotely. Consumers would not have suffered from  bill shock  when meter reading resumed,” Palmones added.

According to Palmones, the raging pandemic shows that the power industry needs to adjust to the “new normal” and rush the rollout of smart meters as this is the next step and next wave of future technology.

“We must now embrace smart meters and digitization of the electricity grid,” he added.

For her part, Maria Theresa Capellan, chairman of the Philippine Solar and Storage Energy Alliance (PSSEA), said there is an opportunity for consumers to turn to renewable energy (RE) via solar rooftops, to mitigate higher household consumption patterns.

“Key to enabling this would be the use of smart meters, which will assist in monitoring power generated by solar panels for homes and businesses. Smart meters also enable customers to monitor and control what they are consuming in real time,” she said.

“This was especially evident in a community she observed in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan badly affected by the strict lockdowns. Residents, most especially daily wage workers who found themselves out of work, benefitted from a prepaid metering scheme as they were able to manage their budgets and consumed within their means. There was no ‘bill shock’ as no estimation was needed, with customers having access to actual meter readings,” she narrated.


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