Meralco sales volume up 5.4%

by Alena Mae S. Flores – January 31, 2016 at 11:58 pm

from Manila Standard

Manila Electric Co., the country’s biggest power retailer, posted a 5.4-percent increase in sales volume in 2015, after consumer segments registered growth.

“All segments are strong especially residential due to lower gen charges, low inflation, El Niño which meant higher temperatures, stable supply and a lot of our customer programs,” Meralco senior vice president Al Panlilio said over the weekend. Meralco has not released its full-year financial figures for 2015.

Meralco, however, is forecasting a lower sales volume growth of 3 percent to 3.5 percent this year after a high base of 5.4 percent expansion in 2015.

Meralco president Oscar Reyes earlier said the company’s sales volume growth was historically within the range of 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

Reyes noted that inflation had been at an all-time low, giving consumers a disposable income that increased their purchasing power.

“Even businesses, because of the low inflation, the cost of doing business is lower. It leaves people with more money to spend on things that drives electricity,” he said.

He added the “very peculiar” warmer weather from June to November last year also drove demand.

“This is the first time that peak demand happened not during summer months but [in August],” he said.

Reyes said the liquidity in the banking system also fueled demand as “there is so much money available for construction of vertical and horizontal housing units.”

Reyes expressed confidence the company was likely to hit its P18.5-billion full year core net income target this year due to higher sales volume.

Meralco posted a core net income P18.1 billion in 2014, up 6 percent from 2013.

Meralco already reported core net income of P15.8 billion in the first nine months of 2015, up 11 percent from P14.286 billion year-on-year.

Reported net income also rose 13 percent to P16.1 billion from a year ago.

Reported income is adjusted to exclude the effect of foreign exchange gains or losses, mark-to-market adjustments, and other one-time, exceptional transactions.

Meralco’s billed customers rose by 209,000 to 5.7 million in the first nine months, up almost 4 percent on year.

Meralco expects group revenues to increase in the next few year. Unit Meralco PowerGen Corp. expects this year the construction of three coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of up to 2,255 megawatts.

The projects include the 455-MW plant of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. in Quezon province, 600 MW by Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. in Subic and 1,200-by MW Atimonan One Energy also in Quezon.

“Participation in power generation is highly strategic for Meralco. Without any generating capacity, Meralco would effectively be only a price-taker and a supply-taker. We look forward to building a portfolio of highly fuel efficient, highly reliable power generating facilities of up to 3,000 MW in joint venture with strategic partners,” Reyes earlier said.

The San Buenaventura coal project is a joint venture between Meralco PowerGen and New Growth B.V., a unit of The Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand.