Meralco rates down for fifth month

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HOUSEHOLDS in Metro Manila will see lower electricity bills for the fifth straight month in September, according to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

The country’s largest electricity distributor said in a statement on Monday that overall electricity rates will drop by 52.6 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P9.0414/kWh in September from last month’s P9.5674/kWh due to lower overall generation charges.

This means that households consuming 200 kWh — who make up the biggest residential customer segment — will see their power bills decrease by P105 this month. This marks the fifth consecutive month of electricity rate drop since April, with the total decline now almost at P1.52/kWh.

Meralco saw generation charges dip by 44.29 centavos/kWh to P4.5191/kWh this month, mainly due to lower charges at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

Improved supply conditions in the Luzon grid prompted a P3.6503/kWh decrease in WESM charges. WESM’s supplied 17% of Meralco’s needs in the August supply month, whose charges are reflected in September bills.

The cost of power from power supply agreements fell by 15.22 centavos/kWh because of lower fuel prices. PSAs accounted for 44% of Meralco’s supply.

This offset the higher cost of power sourced from independent power producers (IPPs), which gained 48.44 centavos/kWh due to lower average plant dispatch and a weaker peso, since about 95% of IPPs’s costs are dollar-denominated. IPPs contributed 39% of Meralco’s supply needs.

The transmission charge for residential customers inched up 0.56 centavos, but was offset by the decrease in taxes and other charges by 8.86 centavos/kWh.

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 interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — A. B. Francia