WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. welcomed General Electric’s plan to introduce smart grid technology in the Philipppines, saying this would not only bring down electric costs but would also help make the country more attractive for investments.
GE Philippines Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel de Dios confirmed GE’s plan during a courtesy call by government and private sector representatives taking part in a study tour in the United States.
“I commend GE and Meralco executives as well as our officials from the Energy Regulatory Commission for introducing the smart grid technology in the Philippines which I hope will lower the cost of electricity,” said Ambassador Cuisia. “With the Smart Grid technology in place, the competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment-site-of-choice will be further enhanced.”
The envoy also welcomed the recent signing between GE-Philippines and Meralco, the country’s largest distributor of electric power, of a smart grid consulting engagement agreement to help Meralco “develop long-term Smart Grid plans, strategies, and roadmaps and enable the company to continue delivering higher quality services, more efficient energy and overall increased benefits to customers.”
Ambassador Cuisia was told that Meralco has already introduced prepaid electricity in some parts of the country and is investing in enterprise computing and smart grids to enhance automation and intelligence at critical points within the Meralco network. These innovations will enable the company to achieve higher efficiency in utility operations and deliver better services to customers.
According to the embassy’s economic section, smart grids are touted to be the future of energy distribution and are in operation in many countries, including China, the United States, Japan, France and Spain. It said smart grids involve the use of advanced metering technology to ensure more efficient energy flow and consumption of electricity, which translates into lower costs for consumers and providers, lower energy wastage and more scalable power distribution to meet the growing demand.
During their courtesy call, De Dios, along with ERC Commissioner Jose Reyes, Meralco Senior Vice President Alfred Panlilio and other participants of the study tour discussed with Ambassador Cuisia the latest developments on the technology and provided updates on their visits to Atlanta, Washington, DC, Oklahoma and Florida. The delegation also met with key officials from the US Department of Energy and the US Trade and Development Agency.
“This tour will help us understand the impact of the technology on each state’s energy efficiency programs,” De Dios told Ambassador Cuisia. Meralco’s Panlilio, for his part, emphasized that the tour provided “deeper insight into actual customer experiences.” ERC Commissioner Reyes said the visit provided “new perspectives of regulatory support for smart grid projects in various jurisdictions.”
The study tour was part of GE’s efforts to further expand its presence in the Philippines where it first made its presence in 1890 when its predecessor, Thomas-Houston Electric Company, installed the first electric streetlights along Real Street in Manila. GE-Philippines currently has over 1,100 employees and a diverse collection of products and services.