ELECTRICITY RATES for consumers in Metro Manila and surrounding areas will increase in December by P0.3044 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) largely due to an overall increase in the power generation charge as a result of the higher cost at the spot market, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said on Monday.

Typical households consuming 200 kWh can expect their power rate to rise to P9.8623/kWh from P9.5579/kWh, or an increase of P61 in their total monthly bill. Those using 300 kWh, 400 kWh and 500 kWh will see an increase this month of P91.32, P121.76 and P152.20, respectively.

“Despite the adjustment, electricity rate this month is still around P0.70 per kWh lower than in April 2019,” Meralco said.

From P5.0317 per kWh last month, the generation charge for December increased to P5.1967 per kWh, or higher by P0.1650 per kWh.

During the period, charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) rose by P1.0799/kWh because of tighter supply in the Luzon grid. System operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the grid on yellow alert twice last month.

Meralco said the average capacity on outage in November increased by 525 megawatts (MW) because of scheduled and forced outages of some power plants. This came at a time when Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEx) restricted Malampaya natural gas supply to onshore gas-fired plants from Nov. 10 to 14.

Meralco said the share of WESM to its supply requirement was down to 10%.

At the same time, the cost of power from the independent power producers (IPP) and power supply agreements rose by P0.1106/kWh and P0.0987/kWh, respectively. The increase was because of lower average dispatch and the weakening of the peso against the US dollar.

The 527-MW San Lorenzo plant was on a scheduled outage from Nov. 1 to 9, while the second unit of the 344-MW Masinloc plant was on planned maintenance shutdown for the entire supply month.

The power utility said about 96% of the cost from IPPs are dollar-denominated, while around 61% of PSA costs are dollar-denominated. Their share to Meralco’s supply needs was at 38% and 52%, respectively.

Other costs such as the transmission charge for residential customers also increased by P0.0753/kWh because of higher NGCP ancillary service charges. Taxes and other charges recorded an increase of P0.0641/kWh.

“Meralco’s distribution, supply, and metering charges, meanwhile, have remained unchanged for 53 months, after these registered reductions in July 2015,” the utility said.

The listed company reiterated that it does not earn from the pass-through charges, such as the generation and transmission charges. Payment for the generation charge goes to the power suppliers, while payment for the transmission charge goes to the NGCP.

Taxes and other public policy charges like the universal charges and the feed-in tariff allowance are remitted to the government. — VVS