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RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS served by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see a nearly P2 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) reduction in their electricity bills this month, instead of the previously announced rate hike.

Meralco made the announcement after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered all distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to implement a staggered collection of charges from their purchases from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in May.

In a statement on Sunday, Meralco said that the overall rate will decrease by P1.9623 per kWh to P9.4516 per kWh in June from P11.4139 per kWh in May.

Households consuming 200 kWh will see their electricity bills decline by around P392.

The reduction was a turnaround from the P0.6436 per kWh increase that Meralco announced on June 13, citing the higher generation charge.

The ERC ordered the staggered collection of the charges over a four-month period starting with bills payable from June until September.

In compliance with the order, Meralco said the generation charge would go down by P1.8308 per kWh, a turnaround from the P0.3466 per kWh increase announced last week.

“We ask for the understanding of our customers over the delayed bills as we implement the newly issued order of the ERC. Rest assured that Meralco will implement adjusted due dates to give our customers enough time to pay their bills,” Meralco Vice-President and Head of Corporate Communications Joe R. Zaldarriaga said in the statement.

To recall, charges from WESM went up by P1.5203 per kWh due to tight supply conditions in May as average demand increased by more than 1,200 megawatts.

The transmission charge will still go up by P0.1450 per kWh, mainly due to the higher ancillary service charge.

The new June electricity billing also applied the implementation of a new feed-in tariff allowance (FIT-All) rate of P0.0838 per kWh starting this month. This is P0.0474 higher than the previous rate of P0.0364 per kWh.

The FIT-All is a charge reflected in the bills of consumers that is collected from on-grid customers to support the development and promotion of renewable energy.

However, typical households in Meralco-covered areas may expect an increase in generation charge in the coming months as the company will start to collect a portion of the costs.

The power distributor earlier said that it will defer the collection of around P300 million in generation charges from suppliers Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd., San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co., and South Premiere Power Corp.

Meralco will also defer the collection of around P200 million in generation costs.

A total of P500 million will be collected over the July-to-September billing period.

“With these already deferred costs, and the recent order of the ERC to also stagger the collection of WESM charges, around P0.77 per kWh will be added every month to the generation charge in the July-to-September bills,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said.

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

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