CUSTOMERS of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see more than a 50-centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase in their electricity bill in April or around P107 for a typical household consuming 200 kWh.
In a virtual briefing on Monday, Meralco officials announced that the overall rate for residential users inched up by P0.5363 per kWh to P10.1830 per kWh from P9.6467 per kWh in March.
“This summer season, in terms of upward rate adjustments, consumption patterns are also expected to increase. We try to find ways wherein we can somehow mitigate the impact of these factors that are in play,” said Meralco Vice-President and Head of Corporate Communications Agapito D. Zaldarriaga.
Consumers using 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh can expect a monthly increase of P160.89, P214.52, and P268.15, respectively.
Meralco said higher charges from independent power producers (IPPs) and the electricity spot market prompted an increase in the generation charge.
As a component of the month’s price increase, the generation charge accounted for P0.3987. The other charges are transmission at P0.0071, taxes at P0.0915, and other charges such as subsidies and system loss at P0.0390.
The generation charge in April rose to P5.8724 per kWh from P5.4737 per kWh the previous month. Meralco’s distribution charge stayed unchanged since July 2015.
The increase in IPP charges to P1.4885 per kWh is influenced by the scheduled maintenance of the power plant of Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd. Co., the Malampaya facility’s insufficient supply of natural gas that resulted in First Gas Power Corp.’s Santa Rita plant acquiring pricier liquid fuel to ensure continuous supply, and further depreciation of the peso versus the greenback.
“There is a consistent depreciation over the past months in terms of the impact of the peso and dollar exchange rate. March is at P51.74, a depreciation from 51.27 in February,” Mr. Zaldarriaga added.
Meanwhile, prices at the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) remained elevated in March caused by the thinning of reserves in the Luzon grid, which recorded peak demand that exceeded annual figures from 2019 to 2021 to 11,617 megawatts.
Jose Ronald V. Valles, head of Meralco’s regulatory management office, said the company coordinated with the Energy Regulatory Commission and some of the company’s suppliers for the deferral of generation costs, leading to lower charges from power supply agreements (PSAs) by as much as P0.1068 per kWh.
“On top of the deferred generation charges, the impact of the quarterly repricing of the Malampaya natural gas for the April supply will be reflected in the generation charge in May,” he added.
The increase in electricity rate was also offset by the continuation Meralco’s P13.9-billion distribution rate true-up refund to P0.4684 per kWh, which has been implemented since March 2021.
IPPs, WESM, and PSAs account for 31.0%, 17.4%, and 51.6% of Meralco’s energy requirement, respectively.
Meanwhile, Meralco expressed its preparedness to deliver uninterrupted electricity service for the national and local elections on May 9, zeroing in on the critical sites identified by the Commission on Elections.
To ensure fully working electrical facilities in time for the elections, Meralco has conducted inspections and maintenance activities for its distribution assets along with election sites in its franchise area.
As a member of the energy task force election under the Energy department, Meralco will be actively communicating with other energy stakeholders in ensuring continuous power supply, and will form a dedicated emergency response team.
Meralco’s First Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer Ferdinand O. Geluz said the company had completed 100% inspection of 2,905 sites, including 2,773 polling centers, 119 canvassing centers, and 13 other vital election sites.
Mr. Geluz also said Meralco had identified polling and canvassing centers that would need improvements and corrections, and would also continue “intensified inspection and maintenance” for its major facilities.
Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ram Christian S. Agustin