Power rates to go up in February

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electric meter ERC

By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

THE Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Friday announced power rates in February will rise by P0.5682 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), mainly due to higher generation charges.

For households consuming 200 kWh a month, the increase to P10.4067 per kWh from January’s P9.8385 per kWh will mean an increase of about P114 in their power bill this month.

Consumers using 300 kWh can expect their monthly electricity bills to jump by P170. Households that consume 400 kWh and 500 kWh will experience an increase of P227 and P284, respectively.

Meralco said that generation charge went up by P0.9820 per kWh to P5.8939 this month, pointing to higher charges from plants under Power Supply Agreements (PSA) and Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The utility noted that the increase follows the reduction in PSA charges in January following the early completion of annual capacity fee payments for the previous year. Capacity fees have now returned to normal levels as prescribed by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“The return to normal levels of capacity fees, particularly of Sual Unit 1, Ilijan, Pagbilao Unit 1 and PEDC, was the main reason for the P1.9217 per kWh increase in PSA charges this February. The share of PSAs to Meralco’s total requirement this month was at 37%,” the company said.

Charges from WESM also went up by P1.4141 per kWh, as several large power plants went on scheduled maintenance outages made for tighter supply conditions. WESM provided 18% of Meralco’s supply needs.

The cost of power from independent power producers meanwhile went down by P0.0042 per kWh thanks to the peso’s strength against the greenback. To note, 96% of IPP charges are dollar-denominated.

Meralco noted that it does not earn from these pass-through charges such as generation charges go directly to power suppliers, while transmission charges to to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines. Taxes and other public policy charges are remitted to the government.

It also added that transmission charge of residential customers, taxes, and other charges went down by P0.4138 per kWh for this month. On the other hand, distribution supply and metering charges have remained unchanged for 43 months since July 2015.

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.