Meralco billings up by over P200

by Alena Mae S. Flores – February 10, 2017 at 08:39 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Manila Electric Co. said Friday electricity rates of a typical household will increase by P0.92 per kilowatt-hour in February and March, one of the biggest rate increases in recent years.

Meralco customers with an average monthly consumption of 200 to 300 kWh will see their monthly billings increase by P184 to P276 for two months.

Meralco in a statement said its overall rate was now at P9 per kWh, after a seven-year low of P8.09 per kilowatt hour in January.

The power distributor said the increase would bring the running average overall residential rate in 2017 to P8.55 per kWh, which approximated the 2016 average of P8.50 per kWh.

Meralco said the average residential rate in 2017 was also P2.17 per kWh lower than the 2014 average rate of P10.72 per kWh, and P0.89 per kWh down from the 2015 average rate of PhP9.44 per kWh.

“The increase this month is mainly due to the upward movement in the generation charge,” Meralco said, adding the normalization of capacity charges and lower dispatch caused the generation rate increase.

“January 2017’s record low generation charge (since October 2004) of P3.70 per kWh was largely due to a reduction in capacity fees arising from the annual reconciliation of outage allowances that is done at the end of each year, under the contracts approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission. The reduction in capacity fees every January represents savings immediately passed on to consumers by way of lower electricity rates, Meralco said.

The electricity retailer said power rates would go up by P0.92 per kWh in March and  asked the Energy Regulatory Commission to stagger the rate increase to mitigate the impact to consumers.

Meralco proposed to recover the amount in three installments starting March.

It said the capacity fees, particularly of Pagbilao coal and Ilijan natural gas plants returned to normal levels this month, pushing up the generation charge by P0.62 per kWh higher to P4.32 per kWh.

Meralco said the lower dispatch of power supply agreements and independent power producers due to a variety of scheduled and forced outages also pushed up rates.

The Calaca, Masinloc, Quezon Power, and First Gas-Sta. Rita power plants underwent scheduled shutdowns, while the Ilijan power plant was isolated by transmission line troubles due to Typhoon “Nina.”