Meralco electricity rates up in April

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Manila Electric Co.’s overall rate went up by 8.72 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the April bill as increasing electricity demand amid the summer heat pushed up spot market prices.

This month’s increase follows two consecutive months of rate reduction caused mainly by regulator-ordered refunds that are continuing this month and helping mitigate the increase in spot prices.

The typical residential customer of Meralco, which is billed for 200 kWh, will pay an additional P17 centavos.

In April, Meralco’s overall rate increased to P8.4067 per kWh from P8.3195 per kWh in March.

The generation charge alone went up by 16.21 centavos to P4.5370 per kWh from P4.3749 per kWh last month.

At the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), charges surged by P2.5991 per kWh due to tighter supply conditions in the Luzon grid. The distribution giant is sourcing 11 percent of its supply from the WESM this month.

“Peak demand in Luzon increased by almost 1,000 megawatts (MW) in March as a result of warmer temperature, while unavailable capacity from plant outages remained above 3,400 MW,” Meralco vice president Joe Zaldarriaga said.

On the other hand, costs were lower for contracted supplies—at 20.9 centavos per kWh for power supply agreements that were signed in the 1990s and 13.71 centavos per kWh for contracts signed later on. Respectively, such contracts accounted for 39 percent and 50 percent of Meralco’s supply this month.

Also, there was a decrease of 8.56 centavos per kWh on the transmission charge as well as an increase of 1.07 centavos per kWh on taxes and other charges.

Meralco is continuing this month the implementation of a P13.9-billion refund, which the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said should be done over a 24-month period or until the amount is fully refunded.

Zaldarriaga said this amount represented the difference between the actual weighted average tariff and the ERC-approved interim average rate for distribution-related charges covering the period July 2015 to November 2020.


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