Slight power-rate increase likely this month–Meralco

By Lenie Lectura – July 6, 2017

from Business Mirror

OVERALL power rates for July are expected to remain flattish to a single-digit increase, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said on Thursday.

Meralco is expected to release its July electricity rates on Friday. As of Thursday noon, initial figures point to “single-digit movement”, Meralco Spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said in a text message.

“The final figures are still being finalized, but based on our projections, movement will be flattish. Any movement will probably be single digits only,” Zaldarriaga said.  “Even if nothing changes from June, foreign-exchange impact alone would have pushed rates higher.”

For a 200-kilowatt-hour (kWh) customer, whose bill was around P1,635 in June, this month’s bill will “most probably stay within that range”, the Meralco official added.

Last week Zaldarraiga said there were events in the June supply month that led to an upward pressure on generation costs, an electricity bill’s major component.

There were two factors that are expected to push generation charge up for the supply month of June. These are the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) price and the depreciation of the peso.

In particular, he said Unit 2 of the Sual power plant, with a 600- megawatt (MW) capacity, went on forced outage beginning June 14, coinciding with the absence of Santa Rita Module 40 (250 MW), which was on scheduled maintenance.

“This 850-MW reduction in supply may have affected spot-market prices. For another, the peso depreciated in recent days to more than 50 to the dollar, versus 49.765 in May. Both factors may have pushed up generation costs that may affect the July generation charge,” Zaldarriaga explained.

Last month generation charge stood at P3.8586. This was lower by P1.0253 per kWh, from P4.8839 per kWh in May. The decline in generation charge largely contributed to a lower June overall rate by P1.43 per kWh to P8.17 per kWh.

At P8.17 per kWh, the June overall rate is the second lowest since December 2009.