Philippines needs to catch up on power digitization – Schneider

SINGAPORE — Power and digitization should go hand in hand in the Internet of Things (IoT) era to be able to provide efficient and reliable power to people especially in the face of climate change.

But the Philippines would need appropriate policies to support and speed up the country’s digital transformation, top officials of French multinational firm Schneider Electric said.

“What we see here is you can’t disconnect energy to digital, power to digital. They go together. The only way to have energy is to have very reliable and available energy immediately,” Schneider Electric chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said in his keynote address during the company’s Innovation Summit here.

He said digitization would aid in the supply of power with the sudden ramp up and down of demand in the network.

“Energy consumption ramps up very fast to track those movements. And, at the same time, the only way to make it more efficient and reliable is to connect it to digital,” Tricoire said.

Schneider Electric’s top official, who lives in Hong Kong, cited the impact of Typhoon Mangkhut—locally known as Typhoon Ompong—that hit one of the world’s leading financial centers.

He said the Southeast Asian nation somehow shields the rest of Asia from many typhoons.

Tricoire also cited Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, which operates in such “difficult conditions” as the nation is always visited by at least 20 typhoons annually.

“As an example, Meralco, a big network operator, can manage that level of complexity largely due to digitization, he said.

Meralco has embarked on a digital transformation by deploying smart grid to meet peak power demand and provide reliable services.

This transformation was first announced by Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan in 2015, when he said the power utility would be an “internet company with a power business.”

While some local sectors have undergone and are undertaking their respective digital transformations, the Philippines would still need policy support for a wider adoption in all sectors, Schneider Electric president for East Asia and Japan Tommy Leong said.

He said the “right economic policies, right policy framework” would provide a boost to the country’s digitization.

For its part, Schneider Electric is ready to provide Philippine companies solutions to accompany their digitization efforts.

‘What we do is bring solutions for power, energy and digital together… these are the foundations of life, foundations of efficiency and sustainability,” Tricoire said.


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