Meralco has announced that the company is developing a Smart Grid to support the country’s electronics industry and help manage electricity distribution.
The development of the Smart Grid allows digital technology and two-way communications to help the company better manage electricity distribution. Smart grids are already the standard power distribution system in countries like United States, Europe, Australia, and leading Asian countries like Japan and China.
Dr. Danilo C. Lachica, President of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. shared that the exports of electronics from January to June 2021 have reached PHP 22.01 billion, which is an increase of 21% from the year-earlier. Additionally, she mentioned that the electricity in the Philippines costs as much as 40% more compared with those of its neighbors in Southeast Asia. Unlike its ASEAN neighbors, power rates in the country do not have the benefit of government subsidies, which artificially lower the rates in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
In response to this, Meralco, the franchise that hosts many factories of SEIPI’s member companies, promised that the company will do whatever it takes to support the main driver of the country’s exports.
“The marching order from Meralco’s leadership is to help SEIPI in the best way we can,” said Meralco First Vice President—Customer Retail Services and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand O. Geluz. “This dialogue will help us further improve our service to your organization and of course support the industry’s growth prospects.”
Geluz added that the Smart Grid could partly address SEIPI’s concerns over the cost of electricity in the country.
The Smart Grid system is designed to protect itself to limit the damage to facilities and minimize disruptions due to outages by natural calamities, human error, or even sabotage. The system may also help the Philippines realize a silicon wafer fabrication facility according to Meralco.
Lachica is optimistic about this prospect of a semiconductor wafer fabrication factory in the country, given the sizeable investments required and the high operating costs. However, she shared that the Philippine electronics industry could still move up the value chain by focusing on making products such as smartphones, smart batteries, smart sensors, box build assembly, and integrated circuit design.
“The trend is towards digital transformation, automation, and remote transactions, such as telemedicine, work from home, distance learning, and others,” said Lachica,