South-east-asia update Meralco extends AMI, East Malaysia reforms electricity law

Meralco to extend AMI rolloutManila Electric Co (Meralco), the largest power distribution utility  in the Philippines, has announced an extension of its advanced metering infrastructure as part of a major push in 2016 to meet growing demand for electricity.

Meralco told local regulator, the Energy Regulatory Commission, that it plans to spend US$17.5 million on extending its AMI system to support prepaid metering across its service area, reports local news source Business Mirror.

Other projects that need approval from the regulator to increase its capital expenditure for 2016 is opening up the electricity market to retail competition, as well as power infrastructure projects such as the construction of substations and installation of switchgear equipment.

In January 2014, Meralco received regulatory green light to begin a pilot scheme of 40,000 prepaid electricity meters, which was due for completion by the end of last year.

East Malaysia electricity open to investors

In other Southeast Asian news, the state of Sabah in East Malaysia has changed electricity supply legislation in order to open up the sector to smart technologies.

The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water is amending the Electricity Supply Act 1990 to “increase the economic returns and strengthen the nation’s electrical supply industry, as well as enable the existing infrastructure to be used for communication purpose,” minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili told the Borneo Post.

Dr Maximus said motivations behind changing the existing act was to attract investment in two-way electrical supply infrastructure, restructuring the electricity supply industry and increasing safety of electricity distribution.

Adopting feed-in tariff

The Ministry is also introducing a feed-in tariff with the aim of giving momentum to the renewable energy industry in Sabah.

Maximus said: “Industry players will be able to capitalise on the abundance of biomass and palm oil mill effluent to supply green energy from renewable energy to the remote areas where the grid electricity infrastructure is too costly to build.”

Boosting the renewable energy sector will also reduce the state’s reliance on fuel supplies.

In 2014, Sabah’s generation energy mix was 83% gas, 7% hydro, 6% medium fuel oil, 2% diesel and 2% renewable energy from biomass.

The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water plans to table the amended bill in parliament this year.