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Meralco rates go up in December

Manila Electric Co. on Friday said overall power rates will rise this month. — Photo by Michael Varcas, The Philippine Star

Residential customers of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see higher electricity bills in December as generation charges increased.

In a statement on Friday, Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household went up by P0.3143 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) to P9.7773 per kWh, from last month’s P9.4630 per kWh.

Residential households consuming 200 kWh will see a P63 increase in their monthly power bills, while households consuming 300kWh, 400kWh, and 500kWh, will see an increase of P94, P126, and P157 in their bills, respectively.

Meralco said the generation charge for December jumped by P0.1997 per kWh to P5.5343 per kWh.

“This month’s charge already includes first of the four monthly installments covering the deferred costs from the November bill,” it said.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered Meralco to defer the collection of part of the suppliers’ generation costs. These costs will be collected from customers on a staggered basis from December 2021 to March 2022.

Meralco Head of Regulatory Management Office Atty. Jose Ronald V. Valles said the power rate adjustments would have been higher if not for the ERC directive and cooperation of its suppliers.

Charges from power supply agreements (PSA) also went up by P0.2142/kWh due to the rise in international coal prices and lower dispatch of some PSAs.

In contrast, charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) dropped by P.0669/kWh, as the power supply situation eased in Luzon alongside a decline in demand.

Charges from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) also slipped by P0.1541/kWh as the gas supply from Malampaya resumed and Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo plants improved dispatch.

In November, PSAs, IPPs, and WESM accounted for 45.7%, 38.2%, and 16.1%, respectively, of Meralco’s energy requirement, the company said.

Meralco said the transmission charges for residential customers jumped by P0.0460/kWh due to higher Ancillary Service charge. It noted that taxes, system loss and other charges also added P0.0686/kWh.

“This month’s residential rate includes a -P0.0053 rate for the Power Act Reduction (PAR) provision of Meralco’s current PSA with Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), as provided for by the Republic Act 9136 covering supply from the National Power Corporation (NPC),” the power giant said.

Meralco is still not collecting the universal charge-environmental charge of P0.0025/kWh, as it remains suspended by the ERC.

ERC ACTION SOUGHT

Meanwhile, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. urged the ERC to stop the utility giant from collecting the deferred generation costs.

“We had written this second letter to the commission requesting for moto propio hearings on the Meralco added costs and pending said hearings, to immediately issue a provisional authority to stop the collection of the deferred generation costs to ensure consumers are no longer made to incur these costs arising from the persistent gas restrictions and shutdowns of the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Projects,” Laban Konsyumer President Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said in a letter dated Dec. 7.

Mr. Dimagiba said the group submitted the first letter to the Department of Energy on November 14 and was referred to the regulatory commission.

ADDITIONAL SUPPLY

At the same time, Meralco said it was preparing to secure additional supply to ensure there will be no power interruptions during the national elections in May.

“We are closely coordinating with the DoE and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines so we rely on their outlook forecast, but on our part, we are preparing for this by proposing to undertake a competitive selection process (CSP) for a 170MW of supply,” Meralco Vice President and Head of Utility Economics Larry S. Fernandez said on Friday during a virtual press conference.

Meralco said they are just waiting for the DoE’s response to this proposal and will proceed accordingly once awarded.

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. — Marielle C. Lucenio

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