by Lenie Lectura, 07 July 2015
Generation charge, the largest component of a Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) bill, will increase by P0.25 to P0.30 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this month. The utility firm, however, is hoping that a reduction in distribution charge will offset this upward adjustment.
The hike in generation charge was blamed on the number of times some power plants went on unscheduled shutdowns in the past weeks. This led to a spike in Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) prices.
“July is likely to go up due to higher prices for the June supply month. Numerous instances of forced outages by other power plants also triggered a number of yellow alerts, thereby putting more upward pressure on WESM prices,” Meralco said on Tuesday.
The Malampaya gas restrictions during said supply month also resulted in the use of more expensive alternative fuel by some power plants, including those of First Gas.
Coinciding with the hike in generation charge, the utility firm will implement a reduction in distribution charge, as soon as it receives the green light from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Meralco filed on June 10 an application to implement a lower distribution rate of P1.39 per kWh, which is 10.4 percent less than the current distribution, supply and metering charges.
The proposed 10.4-percent reduction, if approved, will be applied across all the customer classes of Meralco. This would translate to the following reductions in the total bill of residential customers at varying consumption levels: 200 kWh, P52; 300 kWh, P89; 400 kWh, P134; and 500 kWh, P201.
The ERC is expected to approve Meralco’s application on July 10.
As Meralco awaits the order of the ERC, the utility firm anticipates a slight delay in the delivery of July electricity bills for some of its more than 5 million customers.
Customers who will be included in the adjustment of the bill-delivery schedule are those who usually receive their bills from the sixth to the 12th days of the month. For these customers, Meralco said they can expect their bills to arrive within a week from the time they are supposed to get their bills. For example, a customer whose bill usually arrives on the 10th of the month will most likely have his July bill arrive between the 14th and the 17th of this month.
Customers covered by the slide in the billing schedule will also move correspondingly, Meralco said.
For customers enrolled in auto-debit and auto-charge payment agreements, Meralco said their July electricity bill may be deducted from their bank account or charged to their credit card in August. For these customers, they should ensure that their balance is sufficient to cover the total amount due.