Meralco announces slight power rate hike

By Alena Mae S. Flores – August 07, 2018

Electricity rates posted a slight increase in August on higher fuel prices, retailer Manila Electric Co. said Tuesday.

Meralco said the average power rate increased P0.0265 per kilowatt-hour to P10.2190 per kWh in August from P10.1925 per kWh in July.  It said for a typical household consuming 200 kWh, this would mean an adjustment of P5 in their monthly bill.

Generation charges of Meralco dropped P0.084 per kWh to P5.3481 this month from P5.2651 per kWh in July.  “The increase is the result of P0.6554 per kWh rise in the cost of power from power supply agreements due to lower average plant dispatch and higher fuel prices,” Meralco said.

Meralco purchased 43 percent of its power requirement from PSAs in July. Charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market dropped P1.1021 per kWh in the absence of yellow alerts in the Luzon grid. WESM acts as the country’s trading floor of electricity.

Residential power rates in the Philippines were the second highest in Asia, according to the International Energy Consultants, an Australia-based consulting firm.

IEC, which specializes in modeling most power markets in the Asia Pacific, conducted an international survey comparing regional prices of electricity tariffs. IEC managing director John Morris said the Philippines ranked second in terms of average rate of residential customers among Asian countries.

Meralco’s rates was placed at 17.72 US cents (P8.96 per kWh) as of January 2018, next to Japan’s 24.35 US cents (P12.31 per kWh). Singapore ranked third at 17.35 US cents (P8.83 per kWh).

Morris said Meralco’s average tariff (excluding VAT) in US cents per kWh has declined 4 percent since January 2016, the period covered by the survey, versus an average increase of 12 percent across 46 countries covered by the survey.

He said Meralco’s average tariff now ranks 24th out of the 46 countries surveyed, and 4 percent below the average of the survey.

The IECs study said that if subsidized markets were excluded, Meralco’s tariff would be 10-percent lower than the average.

Morris said Meralco’s residential customers now pay 8 percent below the global average.

“This is an excellent outcome for consumers. Considering that the Luzon power market is unsubsidized and the majority of electricity is produced using imported fuel. In peso terms, Meralco’s tariff has increased by only three percent despite twin headwinds of significant fuel price increases and a depreciating local currency,” he said.

“All of the components of the regulated tariff of Meralco are fair and reasonable, based on comparisons with other markets and versus the true cost of electricity. Meralco continues to deliver electricity at a fair and reasonable rate,” he said.