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Meralco raises electricity rates for November

Christmas decorations are lit up in this file photo. Customers of Manila Electric Co. will see higher electricity bills this month. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS in areas served by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see higher electricity bills this month due to the increase in the generation charge.

In a statement on Wednesday, Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household rose by P0.0844 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P9.9472 per kWh in November, from P9.8628 per kWh last month.

This would translate to a P17 increase in the electricity bill for a household consuming 200 kWh per month.

Households consuming 300 kWh will see their bills increase by P25, while those consuming 400 kWh and 500 kWh will pay P34 and P42 more, respectively.

Meralco attributed the higher overall rate to the generation charge, which rose P0.0725 to P6.9917 per kWh this month, from P6.9192 per kWh in October.

Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesperson and head of corporate communications, said the increase in generation charge was mainly due to a hike in charges from power supply agreements (PSAs).

Charges from PSAs went up P0.2711 per kWh, mainly because of the scheduled maintenance outage of First Natgas-San Gabriel plant from Oct. 1 to 14.

However, this was offset by the lower charges from independent power producers (IPPs) and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

Meralco said the IPP charges declined by P0.1520 per kWh due to the “stronger peso,” which made up 99% of IPP costs, and reduced usage of pricier alternative fuel by First Gas-Sta. Rita.

The peso continued to show high volatility against the US dollar, slumping to a record low of P59 several times in October. The peso closed at P57.97 per dollar on Oct. 28, gaining 34 centavos from its P58.63 close on Sept. 30.

Meralco noted Malampaya natural gas prices were stable after the quarterly repricing.

WESM charges fell P0.7959 per kWh as the secondary price cap was only triggered 51.64% of the time during the October supply period from 55.16% in the previous month.

PSAs accounted for the biggest share of Meralco’s total power requirements at 49% for the period, followed by IPPs (45%) and WESM (6%).

Meralco said transmission, taxes, and other charges for residential customers also increased by P0.0119 per kWh this month.

Lawrence S. Fernandez, Meralco’s vice-president and head of utility economics, said Meralco is aiming to complete distribution-related refunds amounting to P21.8 billion by May 2023.

“So far, for the past several months the impact of rate adjustments on the bill of the customers has been tempered by the implementation distribution related refunds by Meralco,” Mr. Fernandez said, referring to four ongoing refunds, equivalent to P1.8009 per kWh for residential customers.

One of these distribution-related refunds, which is equivalent to P0.4669 per kWh for residential customers, is seen to be completed within the month. The three other refunds will be fully refunded by December 2022, January 2023, and May 2023.

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 interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — A.E.O.Jose

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