Power rates rising

by Alena Mae S. Flores, 04 March 2015
from Manila Standard Today

Meralco notes higher demand

Increased demand and power plant shutdowns may translate into higher electricity rates in March, an official of distributor Manila Electric Co. said Wednesday.

Meralco vice president Lawrence Fernandez told reporters the distribution utility was still waiting for the billing from suppliers, but charges at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in February already pointed to an upward adjustment.

WESM, an offshoot of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, acts as the country’s trading floor of electricity.

“We’re still waiting for billings from IPPs [independent power producers] and PSAs [power supply agreements], but WESM results appear to point to higher market prices,” Fernandez said.

“This may be due to increased demand, as the peak went up by around 200 megawatts from January to February, coupled with more capacity on outage,” he said, referring to the shutdown of Masinloc and Quezon power plants.

Meralco earlier reported higher WESM charges in the January supply month, due to higher incidence of scheduled and forced outages of generating plants.

The higher trading prices at WESM in January were offset by a reduction of billing adjustments from prior months.

Meralco’s electricity rates went up by P0.84 per kilowatt-hour in February, translating into an increase of P168 for small households consuming 200 kWh per month.

Electricity bill went up in February after generation charges were adjusted upward by P0.52 per kWh from P4.72 per kWh in January. Transmission charges, taxes and other charges also increased.

Meralco said a new line item, called FIT-Allowance, representing the subsidy for renewable energy projects, was also added to the bill in February.  The distribution charge, the item that goes directly to Meralco, did not register any movement.

Overall power rates reached P10.51 per kWh in February.

Meralco said the generation charge went up by P0.52 per kWh, mainly due to a P1-per-kWh increase in the rates of generation companies under power supply agreements, as capacity fees normalized from a low level in the preceding month.

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