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Meralco rates to increase in November

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

Residential customers of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see an increase in their electric power bills in November as generation charges went up.

In a statement on Friday, Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household jumped by P0.3256 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) to P9.4630/kWh in November compared to the P9.1374/kWh in October “due to higher generation charge.”

Residential households consuming 200 kWh will see a P65 increase in their monthly power bills, while those consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh will see their bills go up by P98, P130, and P163, respectively.

According to Meralco, the generation charge for November increased by P0.2911/kWh to P5.3346/kWh due to the shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility.

“The shutdown resulted in higher costs of power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The Malampaya facility maintenance shutdown from October 2 to 25 resulted to lesser available supply in the WESM,” Meralco said.

With this, Meralco said the tight supply in the Luzon Grid kept WESM prices high and triggered the secondary price cap on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 21 and 22, which made up 8.39% of the October supply month.

“The Luzon grid was also put on Yellow Alert on Oct. 20 due to forced outages of several power plants. As a result, WESM charges went up by P1.7073 per kWh. Charges from IPPs also increased by P0.8186/kWh,” Meralco said.

In contrast, charges from power supply agreements (PSA) declined by P0.2841/kWh as a result of higher excess energy deliveries.

“For October supply, WESM, IPPs and PSAs accounted for 13.9, 37.4, and 48.7 percent, respectively, of Meralco’s energy requirement,” the utility giant said.

Meralco said the transmission charge for residential customers slipped by P0.0403/kWh as a result of lower ancillary service and power delivery service charges.

The utility giant added that taxes, system loss, and other charges increased by P0.0748/kWh.

“The collection of the universal charge-environmental charge amounting to P0.0025/kWh remains suspended, as directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Distribution, supply, and metering charges which are the only costs that go to Meralco have remained unchanged for 76 months, after registering a reduction back in July 2015,” the utility giant said.

STAGGERED INCREASE

Meanwhile, Meralco said the generation charge increase for November could have been higher, but was reduced in a bid to soften the impact to consumers.

“The distribution utility coordinated with some of its suppliers to defer collection of portions of their generation costs. These deferred charges will subsequently be billed on a staggered basis over the next four months as directed by the ERC,” Meralco said.

Lawrence S. Fernandez, Meralco vice president and head of utility economics, said in a virtual briefing that the increase in generation charge should have been 81 centavos/kWh but was reduced by 52 centavos to 29 centavos/kWh instead.

Mr. Fernandez said the 52 centavos/kWh supposed to be charged for November will be divided into the next four monthly power bills of customers, with an increase of 13 centavos/kWh per month from Dec. 2021 until March 2022.

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.

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