Tight supply leads to higher power rates in April

By Alena Mae S. Flores – April 02, 2018 at 09:40 pm
from manilastandard.net

Power rates are expected to increase in April on higher prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the country’s trading floor of electricity, an official of power retailer Manila Electric Co. said Monday.

“There are very strong indications that spot market prices will register significant increases this March, which would be reflected in the April generation charge,” Meralco head of utility economics Lawrence Fernandez said.

He said the March supply month started with yellow alert in the Luzon grid because of a constraint in the supply of Malampaya natural gas, which in turn, forced some gas-fired plants to reduce output or go on forced outage.

Fernandez said a unit of the Malaya diesel power plant was reactivated on Feb. 26 to March 1, March 5 to 10 and March 12 to14 to augment the reserves in the Luzon grid.

“As a result, we have observed daily average prices in the spot market stay above P5.50 per kilowatt-hour in the first two weeks of the supply month, even spiking to P8 per kWh several times,” he said.

Power rates in the Meralco franchise area were adjusted upward by P0.85 per kWh in March, lower than the actual increase of P0.97 per kWh to cushion the impact of the higher electricity prices on consumers.

Meralco said it would reflect the remaining P0.12 per kWh in the bills of consumers this month.

Meralco’s overall rate reached P10.32 per kWh in March, up from February’s P9.47 per kWh.  This translated into an increase of P170 in the monthly bill of a residential customer consuming an average of 200 kWh.

The power distributor’s generation charge went up to P5.2962 per kWh in March from P4.6548 per kWh in February.

Charges at WESM  also went up by P1.4441 per kWh in the March billing because of tighter supply conditions in Luzon.

“The demand for power in the grid grew by around 366 MW in February due to warmer temperatures, while around 1,000 MW of generating capacity went on scheduled maintenance outage,” Meralco said earlier.

Meralco said while power generation and transmission charges increased, the distribution, supply and metering charges have remained unchanged for 32 months.