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Meralco hopes to secure power deal within the week 

MANILA ELECTRIC Co. (Meralco) hopes to seal a contract for emergency power supply within this week after a unit of San Miguel Global Power Holdings Corp. notified the electricity distributor that it will cease supplying under their previously agreed contract.

“We’re trying to rush the contract and to close the deal as soon as possible, hopefully, [by] next week,” Meralco Vice-President and Head of Utility Economics Lawrence S. Fernandez said during a briefing on Friday.

Meralco has secured a certificate of exemption from the Department of Energy (DoE) from the competitive selection process (CSP) for the supply of 670 megawatts (MW) of power after SMC Global Power’s unit, South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC), issued the notice of cessation effective Dec. 7.

The power distributor has said that so far, the company had negotiated with Aboitiz Power Corp., which offered 300 MW of capacity and only for two months or until Jan. 25.

Meralco has been trying to secure emergency power supply agreements (EPSAs) after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) rejected its joint petition with SMC Global Power, the power arm of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), for a rate increase, saying it had no basis as the agreement is a fixed-rate contract.

“We’re guided by the CSP guidelines of the DoE. Under the guidelines we will be granted an exemption from CSP only when an emergency situation exists and only for a temporary period of [a] year,” Mr. Fernandez said.

Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesperson and head of corporate communications, said that there is an expected adjustment that will impact consumers’ power bills in January due to a mandated refund.

Meralco has yet to complete three refunds totaling P1.334 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) that continue to temper residential customers’ monthly bills. The power distributor said the refund was expected to be fully completed by December 2022, January 2023, and May 2023.

“The SMC’s suspension to supply Meralco will also probably result to an upward adjustment but still remain to be seen,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said.

For the month of December, Meralco announced that customers in its franchise area should expect to pay more after the completion of a distribution-related refund amounting to P0.4669 per kWh.

In a statement, Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household rose by P0.3297 per kWh to P10.2769 per kWh from  P9.9472 per kWh in November.

Households consuming 200 kWh will see their power bills increase by P66, while those consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh will see their bills increase by P99, P132, and P165, respectively.

For the month, the generation charge declined by P0.1942 to P6.7975 from P6.9917 per kWh in November.

Meralco is the largest power distribution company and the largest private-sector utility in the Philippines. Its 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. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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