In the Philippines, the electric utility for the capital Manila has plans to extend its residential prepaid meter deployment by 100,000 units in a bid to allow consumers to better manage consumption.
Meralco's request to the Energy Regulatory Commission to sign off the extended rollout comes as the utility prepares to install the first 40,000 electricity meters approved by the regulator, reports local media Business World Online.
Meralco said last week it expects to complete the first phase if "not June, by the end of the year at the latest", according to Alfredo S. Panlilio, senior vice-president at Meralco, said last week.
Mr Panlilio said the additional meters would ensure that the utility can ensure good meter coverage in the metropolitan area of Manila.
He added that apart from residential customers, other agencies and institutions – like the National Housing Authority (NHA) and Philippines National Police – are also considering prepaid electricity for their premises.
Panlilio said: “The 140,000 meters will cover Manila, except for NHA because some of their housing projects are in Bulacan. So we will do pocket deployments too.”
He added that NHA alone may order up to 40,000 meters for its housing projects.
AMI for consumer demand management
In its filing to the energy regulatory for an enlarged prepaid meter deployment, Meralco said it planned to use an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) integrated solution to allow customers to monitor their electricity consumption, balance, credit purchase history and account information.
Meralco instructed General Electric as the system integrator for the advanced metering structure of the service, Orga Systems for billing operations, and Ecologic Analytics for the meter data management system.
Customers may purchase credits in five different denominations from Meralco business centers, and different retail outlets.
Prepaid meter pilot
In 2013, Meralco launched a pilot of prepaid meters in 200 households as part of a US$7 million budget for the pilot and commercial rollout for the 40,000 meters.
A year later, it did commercial tests involving 2,000 households.