MANILA ELECTRIC Co. (Meralco) is expecting a decrease in power cost from suppliers this month, the company’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

“While we have yet to receive all the billings from our suppliers, initial indications show lower generation charge this March,” Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesperson and vice-president for corporate communications, said in a Viber message.

The generation charge mostly makes up the bulk of a consumer’s monthly electricity bill.

Mr. Zaldarriaga attributed the potential decline to lower power prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and resumption of operations of the 455-megawatt power plant of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co.

San Buenaventura Power is a partnership between the Meralco PowerGen Corp., a subsidiary of Meralco, and New Growth B.V., a subsidiary of Thailand-based Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd.

The average WESM price system-wide dropped to P3.91 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in early February as supply outpaced demand, according to the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines.

“Also contributing to this expected decrease is the refund of incremental Malampaya gas charges under the new Gas Sale and Purchase Agreements (GSPA) as recently directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC),” he said.

In February, the power distributor implemented an increase from P11.3430 per kWh to P11.9168 per kWh on higher generation charge due to increases in the costs from independent power producers and power supply agreements.

Meralco said that the price of Malampaya gas to Sta. Rita power plant climbed by nearly 12% following the signing of new GSPA between First Gas Corp. and Malampaya consortium.

The ERC has instructed Meralco to complete validation of the costs to justify the rate adjustment.

Meralco has estimated that the refund would range between four to five centavos per kWh.

“We are hoping that this reduction in the generation charge will be able to temper the anticipated increase in transmission charge due to higher ancillary service charges,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

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