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Meralco bills lower this month

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MANILA ELECTRIC CO. (Meralco) started the year with a reduction in the overall electricity rate to P9.835 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) for January bills, down P0.3418/kWh from last month.

For typical households using 200 kWh, their monthly power bill will go down by around P68, the power distributor said in a statement on Tuesday.

Households using 300 kWh, 400 kWh and 500 kWh can expect their bills to decrease by P102.54, P136.72 and P170.90, respectively.

Meralco said the reduction, from P10.1803/kWh in December, was mainly due to the lower cost of power from its power supply agreements (PSA).

“[L]ower PSA charges were brought about by a reduction in capacity fees as a result of the annual reconciliation of outage allowances done at the end of each year under the PSAs approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC),” Meralco Public Information Office Head Joe R. Zaldarriaga said in a statement.

The generation charge for January went down to P4.9119/kWh, a P0.4184/kWh reduction from December’s P5.3303/kWh.

The decrease is largely the result of a P1.2293/kWh reduction in cost of power from Meralco’s PSAs, which provided 40% of the utility’s requirement for the December supply month whose charges appear in January bills.

Mr. Zaldarriaga said early completion of annual capacity payment for the Sual power plant’s unit 1, as well as Ilijan, Pagbilao’s unit 1 and Panay Energy Development Corp. “resulted in savings immediately passed on to consumers by way of lower electricity rates.”

“The capacity fees of PSAs will return to normal levels in January that will impact on February bills after the downward adjustment in December,” he added.

Meanwhile, charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) dropped by P0.0165 per kWh because of the improvement in the Luzon power situation. Meralco said demand for power in the Luzon grid went down by 101 megawatts.

The cost of power from the independent power producers (IPP) rose by P0.0847/kWh due to peso’s weakness. The utility said about 92% of IPP charges are dollar-denominated.

WESM and IPPs accounted for 18% and 42%, respectively, of Meralco’s supply.

The transmission charge of residential customers increased by P0.1210/kWh in January due to higher ancillary service charges from the system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Taxes and other charges slipped by P0.0444/kWh.

Meralco said in its statement that its distribution, supply and metering charges have been unchanged for 42 months, after these were reduced in July 2015.

It reiterated that it does not earn from the pass-through charges, since payments for the generation charge go to power suppliers while payments for the transmission charge go to NGCP. — V. V. Saulon