by Lenie Lectura – December 21, 2015
from Business Mirror
THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is likely to register a 5.3-percent to 5.4-percent growth in power sales this year compared to the previous year, mainly on account of stronger power demand across all market segments.
“We are seeing probably a 5.3-percent to 5.4-percent year-to-date growth,” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said. “The growth we are seeing for the year is historically higher compared to the average growth over the past years, which has been a low of 3 percent.”
In 2014 the company’s sales volume grew by 3.2 percent to 35,160 gigawatt hours over 2013, due largely to the combined commercial and industrial volumes of Meralco and Clark Electric Distribution Corp.
Stronger sales this year would help achieve Meralco’s core-profit guidance of P18.5 billion. The number, if attained, is slightly higher than the company’s P18.1-billion actual core-net income in 2014.
Reyes 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 against the same month last year. October sales, meanwhile, grew by over 8 percent, Reyes added.
Meanwhile, December sales “maybe tempered” as a result of the two typhoons that hit the country this month.
“There’s been a confluence of factors which drove electricity sales to a 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 this 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 happen not within the summer months,” Reyes added.
In addition to the factors cited by Reyes, he also commented on the new projects being undertaken by real-estate developers.
For 2016 growth in power sales is expected to revert to the 3-percent level.
“For next year, we’re looking at between 3 percent and 3.5 percent. This is low compared to this year because we will be coming from a higher base,” Reyes said.
There were 5.7 million Meralco customers at end-September this 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.