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Media November 24, 2023

BAP, Meralco hold forum on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Solutions

The Bankers Association of the Philippines and Meralco held a forum on November 22 to discuss ways on how banks throughout the country can adapt practices to introduce sustainability in their energy practices.

In his opening remarks, BAP managing director Benjamin P. Castillo highlighted how energy matters in banks’ day-to-day operations.

“As is generally known, electricity is a substantial operational expense for banks, particularly those with big branch networks and data centers,” Castillo said. “Managing energy expenses correctly can enhance profitability and competitiveness, and implementing energy-efficient techniques can drastically cut operational costs for banks.”

Dubbed as the “Power Up Forum,” experts from Meralco shared their key insights on matters such as sustainability and green energy.

Sustainable Business

The first part of the forum centered on “Sustainable Business,” which touched on how banks can operate more sustainably through efficient management of power.

The first speaker was Pocholo Bollado, a services engineer, who discussed upgrades banks can adapt to cut down on electricity costs. These include switching to LED lights from CFL lights — which can yield monthly savings of Php 5,000 per 100 bulbs — and using a variable-frequency drive that saves power when their offices do not require energy usage.

The second speaker was John Louie Constantino, another services engineer, who reminded banks to keep key metrics in mind to optimize power quality in their operations. These metrics include having a fundamental frequency of 60hz and maintaining a voltage variation of +/- 10% of the nominal service voltage. 

Complying with these metrics will avoid power quality problems that increase expenses for banks and decrease the quality of equipment they are using, he said.

The third speaker was John Pocholo Pabilona, an account executive at MSERV — a subsidiary of Meralco. During his presentation, he discussed the services that MSERV offers to help banks be energy-efficient in their operations.

These include assisting them with energy audits and maintaining equipment banks use. In addition, banks can also take advantage of Energy Efficiency 360 — an online platform that allows users to track data related to energy consumption.

Greener Tomorrow

The second part of the forum was “Greener Tomorrow.” During this discussion, Meralco experts explained the benefits of adopting green energy into banks’ operations.

The first speaker was Elefren Antonio, a lead for Technical Services from the Enterprise Commercial and Conglomerates group of Meralco. He discussed the requirements to be eligible for the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), which allows consumers to exclusively use clean energy in their businesses.

The criteria include having a monthly average peak demand of greater than or equal to 100 KW for the past 12 months for existing customers and a monthly average peak demand of greater than or equal to 300 KW for the next 12 months for new customers, according to the presentation.

Bezie Mae Mina, an Industry Lead handing the Financial Institutions Industry also under the Enterprise Commercial and Conglomerates group, explained how marrying sustainability and efficiency is possible for banks. Mina emphasizes the newly passed EVIDA Law and how companies should prepare and comply with this law. On renewable energy solutions, Meralco fully support and advocates government programs such as net metering, zero export/self-generating facility for end-user consumption and the new distributed energy resource program for companies that wishes to install solar PV installation.

Mina detailed success stories from clients. For example, she said that a Manila-based hotel was able to save Php 12 million on its first year with installed 1.2 MWp solar PV system.

Ronwell David, a commercial account executive at Mspectrum — also a subsidiary of Meralco, followed up on that discussion by explaining the benefits of solar energy and how banks can future proof their business. David explained a bank was able to save at the same time cut its carbon footprint by installing solar PV system.

The forum had a lively discussion with banks verifying ways their branches may save energy and apply for the GEOP. It ended with BAP and Meralco looking forward to a sustained series which provides a space for open discussion and communication on how the banking industry may adapt sustainable practices and renewable energy. For the following forum, BAP and Meralco hope to include the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to provide insights and comments on this green movement in the banking sector. 

As the head of Meralco’s Enterprise Commercial & Conglomerates, Bernice Gretchel P. Garcia-Rama, closes the forum, she thanked BAP for the opportunity to have this engagement towards BAP & Meralco’s joint effort to promote sustainable energy solutions.

“This collaboration marks the beginning of a strategic alliance, where the synergy between energy efficiency and financial sustainability creates a positive impact on our communities and the environment, with the banking sector at the forefront.”