MANILA, Philippines - Power retailer Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is setting aside P13 billion for capital expenditures this year, 18% higher than its spending of about P10 billion last year.
Bulk of the amount will be used for the upgrade of its distribution network, with a smart grid system in place, said Meralco President and CEO Oscar Reyes. The smart grid is a monitoring tool that will allow its customers to see how much electricity their home appliances actually consume.
Meralco's capex from January to September in 2012 reached P5.9 billion. The utility firm said a portion of this amount went to its new Bulacan substation. It added it also spent for the expansion of its two existing substations in Laguna and Cavite.
Reyes earlier said that Meralco is planning to put up its own power generation plants with capacity of up to 2,700 megawatts targeted for commercial operation by 2021. The facilities may utilize coal and natural gas.
"We also continue to look for opportunities in the grids outside Luzon, and potentially even outside the Philippines, to enhance our profitability and showcase the technical competency of our engineers, technical and customer service people," he said.
Meralco posted a core net income of P12.89 billion in the first 9 months of 2012, up 7.9% from the P11.94 billion it recorded in the same period the year before. Growth was driven mainly by higher electricity sales.
Meralco was targeting a profit of P16 billion for 2012, higher than its original P15 billion estimate.
Reyes said "it's too early to say what our actual 2012 core net income is compared to latest guidance of P16 billion. Out accounts for full year 2012 are not done." - Rappler.com
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