Meralco: February generation charge up

by Lenie Lectura – February 3, 2016

from Business Mirror

POWER generation charge for this month is expected to go up, a Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) official warned on Wednesday.

“We expect the generation charge this February to be higher than January’s rate,” Meralco Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez said in an interview.

Generation charge, the largest component of an electric bill, stood at P3.92 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) last month. This is lower by P0.21 per kWh from December last year, and the lowest since January 2010.

According to Fernandez, the cost in January was pulled down by capacity-fee adjustments from plants under the power sales agreements (PSAs). “This is part of an annual reckoning or true-up of the use of outage allowances by the generation company,” the Meralco official said. “We will no longer have this negative adjustment in the February generation charge.”

He said that, without the one-time outage allowances adjustment, the January generation-charge reduction would have been a “P0.07- per-kWh increase” instead. Meralco will announce actual figures on Friday, according to Fernandez.

He noted the many power plants that went on forced shutdown and scheduled shutdown last month did not affect electricity prices. “While there are several power-generation units on maintenance outages, and while other units experienced forced outages, the supply-demand situation remained normal.”

Based on earlier data provided by Meralco, the power plants scheduled for maintenance shutdown last month include the Calaca 1 and 2 (600 megawatts) power plants, the Masinloc 1 (315 MW), the Santa Rita Module 10 (257.3 MW), the Santa Rita Module 40 (264 MW) and the Santa Rita Module 30 (265.5 MW). Meralco Spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga earlier warned of higher power rates in the succeeding months as more power plants are scheduled for maintenance shutdowns.

“Rates are bound to be affected by the simultaneous scheduled plant outages and the expected increase in demand due to the reported impact of El Niño,” Zaldarriaga said in a text message. Eight power plants in Luzon with a combined capacity of over 4,500 MW are scheduled to implement maintenance shutdowns this year.

Based on this list, more than 700 MW of capacity from three power facilities in Batangas are on scheduled outage for the month of August. These are the 190-MW Ilijan combined-cycle power plant 2, the 330-MW Calaca coal-fired thermal power plant 1 and the Santa Rita combined-cycle natural gas plant Module 20, which has a generating capacity of 255.7 MW.

For September, there is almost 600 MW of power-generating capacity coming from Santa Rita Module 30 and Calaca 1 that would be shaved off from the grid. The 647 MW Sual 1 Power Station in Pangasinan will also be out during October and November this year.

“As mentioned by Oscar Reyes, the scheduled outages are bunched up in January and the months of August and September, with one unit of Sual going out from October to November,” Fernandez said via electronic mail.