Philippines’ largest power distributor goes digital

Meralco senior officials, led by President and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, during the launch of the ICT Operations Platform and Telecommunications Integrated Command Center (OPTIC). PHOTO FROM MERALCO

Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the largest power distribution utility in the Philippines, has unveiled its most advanced command and control center, making it the first digital distributor in the country to date.

Called the Operations Platform and Telecommunications Integrated Command Center (OPTIC), the state-of-the-art facility aims to reduce unplanned downtime of critical ICT systems, increase productivity of employees, and enhance service delivery to Meralco customers.

The new OPTIC is operated by ICT engineers and provides a centralized monitoring system that allows faster fault detection and restoration of technology services. The underlying platform is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) that analyzes all systems logs, provides actionable information and insights, and enables predictive and proactive maintenance.

With the pandemic encouraging millions of Meralco customers to rely on digital touchpoints, the OPTIC improves the distribution utility’s resiliency and service reliability by providing real-time application, IT network, and communication link outage alerts to support teams to immediately restore these services.

In a statement, Meralco Vice President and Head of Information Communication Technology and Transformation Rocky D. Bacani said that the OPTIC is an intelligent communications and response coordination platform that covers and serves all facilities, operations, and people.

“This platform plays a pivotal role in the effective management of Meralco’s daily operations, resulting in higher efficiency, improved incidents mitigation and response capabilities which translate to consistent and reliable services to our customers and workforce. This is especially crucial at this time with the pandemic making us highly dependent on technology,” he was quoted as saying.

Aside from its smart features, Meralco’s OPTIC claims to be secure, safe, and sustainable.

The command center is operational 24/7 and boasts of an industrial grade and energy-efficient LED display wall, as well as a smart and audible alarm system for alerts and incidents. It is also equipped with a 360-degree video conferencing system to coordinate activities during major incidents and emergency response scenarios.

Moreover, OPTIC heightens its physical security system and CCTV monitoring by using computer-vision AI not only to check compliance with health and safety protocols, but also to ensure that only authorized personnel can enter the premises.

Meralco is a publicly listed company in the Philippines and the sole distributor of power in Metro Manila, serving more than seven million customers.