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AboitizPower utilities score tech win for use of A.I.

Winners. (from L to R) ADI COO for Power Luis F. Gonzalez, ADI Lead Solution Architect - Power Grid and Distribution Gratz Redoble, Davao Light Meter Shop Supervisor Mark Catalan, Visayan Electric President and COO Raul Lucero, Davao Light President and COO Rodger Velasco, and Asian Business Review Editor-in-Chief Tim Charlton, who presented the award.

An artificial intelligence (A.I.)-enabled software developed by Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) distribution utilities Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light) and Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (Visayan Electric) with Aboitiz Data Innovation Pte. Ltd. (ADI) gained recognition for helping advance technology and digital transformation in the utilities industry.

ADI was awarded the Philippines Technology Excellence Award for A.I. - Utilities in the Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand for Project A.I. CU (“I see you”), a homegrown idea that began in Davao Light.

The project utilizes A.I. to optically scan images of electrical installation components — like those mounted on electrical poles — and check if these align with the records of a distribution utility. After a series of pilot tests in Davao Light, the software was able to identify and tag the asset by its individual and unique compatible unit (CU) number which was manually assigned to it beforehand. Each CU represents a grouping of electrical items that a certain electrical asset is composed of.

Grouping materials and categorizing assets makes it easier for distribution utilities to identify its infrastructure. Overall, verifying the accuracy of records ensures regulatory compliance, better asset management, operational efficiency, and the continued trust that a distribution utility can deliver justified and cost-effective electricity prices in its franchise area.

The use of A.I. to recognize CUs can also significantly reduce the need for manpower and rendered work hours, allowing team members to dedicate time and effort in other activities. Typically, trained engineers are sent to each electrical installation and visually identify each item installed.

“The inspiration for Project A.I. CU goes beyond streamlining asset verification. This initiative serves as a window into how we are leveraging artificial intelligence to transform our operations, making them more efficient and smarter,” said Davao Light Meter Shop Supervisor Mark Anthony Catalan, adding that the idea for Project A.I. CU began in 2019 and was proposed to Davao Light in 2020.

Catalan was joined by fellow Davao Light innovators Eric Camerino, Jeffrey Lingatong, Raquel Caro, Russel Bolivar, and Prince Yamyamin in developing Project A.I. CU in its early stages and rejuvenating the search for other possible A.I. applications in the operations of Davao Light, particularly in the aspects of safety, audit, and maintenance.

The group was able to complete an A.I. model for Project A.I. CU as a proof of concept before turning it over to ADI, the data science and A.I. arm of the Aboitiz Group. In the near future, ADI aspires to refine and scale the project for its full implementation in Visayan Electric and Davao Light. These AboitizPower subsidiaries are the second and third largest distribution utilities in the Philippines, respectively.

Once fully implemented, Project A.I. CU is estimated to save both companies millions of pesos in annual operating costs. As such, ADI will also assess its potential use in other AboitizPower distribution utilities.

“This award demonstrates the data-driven innovations being applied in AboitizPower and highlights the growing synergies within the Aboitiz techglomerate, which in this case is between our distribution utilities and ADI,” said AboitizPower President and CEO Emmanuel Rubio. “It also reaffirms AboitizPower’s mission of ‘Transforming Energy for a Better World’ as it continues its digitalization and innovation initiative to ensure quality service.”

In line with the Aboitiz Group’s Great Transformation, and as a partner in Philippine development via its power generation and distribution assets, AboitizPower is focusing its transformation in the realms of decarbonization, digitalization, and growing beyond its core business. The Company had already indicated its goal of growing its renewable energy portfolio to at least 4,600 megawatts or 50% of its generation mix by the next decade to aid the country’s energy transition to a cleaner power mix.

The Asian Technology Excellence Awards was presented by Asian Business Review, a regional magazine serving Asia's dynamic business community.


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