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Philippine utility firm taps Cisco for IT infrastructure base

Veronica C. Silva | Aug. 24, 2012
Cisco is helping Meralco set up the foundation for an electricity distribution smart grid.

The Philippines' largest power distributor has sought the help of IT networking giant Cisco to build a smart grid for the company's operations.

Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said it is using Cisco's expertise and solutions to build the foundation for an enterprise-wide computing and smart grid infrastructure that will enhance the delivery of services to Meralco's millions of customers.

Cisco said its smart grid solutions and services can help Meralco enhance the automation and intelligence at critical points within Meralco's network to increase operational efficiency. 

Meralco said embarking on the smart grid transformation was prompted by several issues that were impinging on the company's operational efficiency.

Challenges

"Legacy grid infrastructure, rising power generation costs and emerging technologies are driving the company to pursue a new and more intelligent distribution network. We needed an IT infrastructure that is robust, flexible, and highly secure yet cost-effective. In an industry made even more challenging with deregulation, we remain committed to the interests of our stakeholders: to provide our customers with the best value in energy, products and services and at the same time to run the business (for our investors) effectively and efficiently," said Marthyn Cuan, vice president and chief information officer, Meralco, and who concurrently spearheads the company's business process and systems transformation.

The smart grid transformation of Meralco involves the use of intelligent communication networks as the platform "that enables grid instrumentation, analysis, and control of utility operations from power generation to trading, to transmission and distribution, and to retail."

"The past 18 months have been fantastic for Meralco. We saw record energy volume growth and we have passed our five millionth customer. As our customer base increases, the corresponding demands for quality power and services necessitate that we improve current capabilities. We are collaborating with Cisco, given their heritage in transformative technology, and having been consistently recognised in the IT industry as a leader in networking technology with a broad line of innovative products. Most importantly, they approached us from a solutions perspective," said Cuan. 

Cisco solutions

Cisco's Connected Grid portfolio includes networking equipment, computing platforms, integrated software services and professional services that will help deliver Meralco's smart grid transformation.

Stephen Misa, managing director, Cisco in the Philippines, said its products are suited for the different segments of the grid "from the generation facility infrastructure to the data centre to the smart meters, creating a true end-to-end, converged and interoperable solution." 

"Cisco is in a unique position to help lead energy organisations make the transformation to smart grids," added Misa. "We are excited to collaborate with innovative industry leaders like Meralco, who are pioneering the way energy utilities are driving new service models. Cisco is in a unique position to help lead energy organisations make the transformation to smart grids."

 

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