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Meralco hikes generation charge

Posted on August 08, 2012

MANILA ELECTRIC CO. (Meralco) clients can expect higher bills this month as the distribution utility yesterday announced a 28-centavo generation charge increase.

The adjustment to P6.7397 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from July’s P6.4549 is due to "the shutdown of the Malampaya pipeline for eight days in July" that affected the Ilijan, Sta. Rita, and San Lorenzo power plants, the firm said.

Consumers who use an average of 100 kWh per month will see their electricity bills go up by P28, the firm said. Those who consume 200 kWh per month will see a P56 increase, while customers using 300 kWh need to pay P84 more.

The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project, operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., supplies gas to Meralco’s independent power producers (IPPs).

During last month’s maintenance shutdown, the three power plants ran on more expensive liquid condensate.

Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo operated at their normal capacities of 1,000 megawatts (MW) and 510 MW, respectively, while Ilijan operated one block at a maximum of 450 MW from its overall capacity of 1,200 MW.

"Because of Ilijan’s limited operations, a larger share of the power requirements in the Meralco area had to be obtained from Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)," the firm said.

WESM charges, at P14.70 per kWh, remained Meralco’s most expensive source of power.

The utility said it sourced 45.6% of its power requirements from IPPS, 41.7% from National Power Corp. and 12.6% from the WESM.

The firm earlier warned the August billing month could be more expensive for consumers given the scheduled Malampaya shutdown, which started on July 13.

Meralco said the generation charge could drop next month as Malampaya is back online and barring generation disruptions from other large power plants. -- D. O. Rivera