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US firm eyes rolling out metering solution in PHL

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UNITED STATES-BASED grid management services provider SparkMeter is seeking to distribute its metering systems in the Philippines after obtaining a compliance certificate from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

“(The certificate) allows us to proceed with commercial sales and operations and provide our solution commercially to all of the utilities in the Philippines,” SparkMeter Chief Executive Officer Dan Schnitzer said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“The ERC certificate is a big step for SparkMeter because we can now actually sell the solution in the Philippines to the utilities,” he added.

The company received a compliance certificate from the ERC last month, which it said “fosters collaboration with electricity cooperatives and investor-owned utilities.”

“This accreditation not only enables SparkMeter to market and distribute its products across the Philippines but also aligns with the nation’s ambitious energy goals to reduce the dependency on traditional energy sources and transition to renewable alternatives,” the company said.

Mr. Schnitzer said the company may provide “the whole solution as a single company” to power distributors.

“That ends up being very expensive to the utility to have to integrate all of these different systems and that’s what makes SparkMeter different and what makes us more cost-effective is we provide the solution as a single company,” Mr. Schnitzer said.

Founded in 2013, SparkMeter is currently operating in over 25 countries and enabling utilities operating in remote areas through its technology to access features such as flexible billing, customer communications, and remote monitoring and control.

Utilities can obtain smart grid analytics through SparkMeter’s GridScan software catering for various utility needs including transformer loading analysis, customer outage detection and analysis, and revenue loss analysis.

SparkMeter had pilot installations with rural electric cooperatives in Zamboanga and Pampanga last year, and it is now eyeing to work with more electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in the country.

“I think, by the end of the year, we’d love to be working with another five or six,” Mr. Schnitzer said.

SparkMeter is coordinating with the National Electrification Administration and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. to work with more power distributors.

Mr. Schnitzer said that using their metering system with its software would allow electric cooperatives and distribution utilities to reduce power costs.

“Once they’ve adopted it, they’ll then hopefully see some of these cost impacts, which will allow them to stabilize rates or even reduce rates,” he said. 

SparkMeter decided to roll out its technology in the Philippines for having “a large number of cooperatives” and “very ambitious renewable energy targets.”

“We wanted to work in the Philippines because we saw the potential of our technology to help meet the national policy goals around reducing costs and increasing renewable energy,” Mr. Schnitzer said.

“And there are really few smart meters that have been installed so far, so it’s a very big market for a US company like ours, it’s very attractive… it’s a country that’s looking to do the types of things that we hope our technology can help achieve,” he added.

The Philippine government is targeting to increase the share of renewable energy to the country’s power mix to 35% by 2030 and 50% by 2040. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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