by Lenie Lectura – February 1, 2016
from Business Mirror
THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) registered a 5.4- percent growth in power sales last year compared to the previous year, mainly on account of stronger power demand across all market segments.
“The 2015 growth stood at 5.4 percent, equivalent to 36,615 gigawatt-hours [GWh],” Meralco Senior Vice President Alfredo Panlilio said in a text message.
The growth is historically higher compared to the average growth over the past years, which has been a low of 3 percent.
The Meralco official said growth was attributed to a stronger demand across all segments, particularly from its residential customers, “due to lower generation charges; low inflation; El Niño, which meant higher temperatures; a stable supply; and a lot of our customer programs.”
In 2014 the company’s sales volume grew by 3.2 percent to 35,160 GWh over 2013, due largely to the combined commercial and industrial volumes of Meralco and Clark Electric Distribution Corp.
Meralco President Oscar Reyes had said stronger sales would help achieve Meralco’s core-profit guidance of P18.5 billion for 2015. The number, if attained, is slightly higher than the company’s P18.1-billion actual core net income in 2014.
Reyes earlier said Meralco recorded an increase of over 8 percent in electricity sales for October and November, respectively. In fact, November sales grew by 8.4 percent, as against the same month last year. October sales, meanwhile, grew by over 8 percent.
Meanwhile, December sales “may be tempered” as a result of the two typhoons that hit the country during the month.
“There’s been a confluence of factors, which drove electricity sales to trajectory higher than in previous years. This higher trajectory can be attributed to many factors, such as very low inflation rate, warmer temperature; and we also noticed that there had been a number of infrastructure and real estate that were put up,” Reyes said.
The Meralco official said the “very low” inflation rate recorded last year resulted in “more purchasing power for consumers.” Thus, he added, consumers tend to spend more on things that “drove electricity demand up.”
“The temperature in November was warmer. It’s the first time that we saw peak demand happened not within the summer months,” Reyes said.
In addition to these factors cited by Reyes, he also noticed the new projects being undertaken by real-estate developers.
For 2016, growth in power sales is expected to revert to the 3-percent level.
Meralco customers stood at 5.7 million at end-September last year, with almost 168,000 new customer accounts since September 2014. Residential customers represent 92 percent, and commercial customers account for 8 percent of total customer count.