Meralco hikes electric rates

Power rates will increase by P0.3044 per kilowatt-hour, translating to a P61 adjustment in the typical household’s monthly bill, the Manila Electric Co. said Monday.

Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household consuming 200 kilowatt-hours increased to P9.8623 per kWh in December from P9.5579 per kWh in November because of higher generation charges.

The company said generation charges rose to P5.1967 per kWh in December, up by P0.1650 per kWh from P5.0317 per kWh in November.

“Charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market increased by P1.0799 per kWh driven by tighter supply conditions in the Luzon grid,” Meralco said.

Meralco sourced 10 percent of its power requirements from the WESM during the November supply month. WESM acts as a trading floor for electricity in Luzon.

Meralco said grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines placed the Luzon grid on yellow alert on two occasions.

Meanwhile, the cost of power from Meralco’s independent power producers and power supply agreements also increased by P0.1106 per kWh and P0.0987 per kWh, respectively, because of lower average dispatch and the weakening of the peso against the US dollar.

Meralco got 38 percent and 52 percent of its requirements from its IPPs and PSAs, respectively.

The San Lorenzo natural gas power plant (527 MW) was on scheduled outage from Nov. 1 to 9, while the Masinloc coal plant Unit 2 (344 MW) was on planned maintenance outage for the whole supply month.

Meralco said about 96 percent of IPPs costs were dollar-denominated, while 61 percent of PSA costs were dollar-denominated.

The transmission charges on residential customers also increased by P0.0753 per kWh this month as a result of higher NGCP ancillary service charges. Meanwhile, taxes and other charges registered an increase of P0.0641 per kWh.

Meralco’s distribution, supply, and metering charges have remained steady for 53 months. Meralco said it was not earning from the pass-through charges such as the generation and transmission charges.

Power consumers and cause-oriented groups on Monday protested what they said was an onerous setup in the generation and distribution of electricity.

The Power for People Coalition called for the review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

“By reviewing EPIRA, our government can hold power corporations accountable for abusive practices, and can also instead pass into law policies that would transform the energy industry into a pro-consumer sector,” said Gerry Arances, P4P convener.

Arances said coal continues to dominate the country’s power mix and the government should do more to end this coal dependence.

“The government can much more easily walk the President’s SONA 2019 talk of ending coal dependence and fast-tracking the development of renewable technologies. We remind them that as public servants, providing Filipinos with clean and affordable electricity is their duty,” Arances said.

Other cause-oriented groups said the government should look at the plight of consumers in the wake of high electricity prices.

Flora Santos, coordinating council member of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) dinner is becoming a luxury for most Filipinos because of high water and electricity bills.

“Costly electricity and other utility bills are taking away an important part of our culture,” she said.

READ: Power rate hikes capped

READ: Power rates likely stable in October

Topics: power rates , Manila Electric Co. , Wholesale Electricity Spot Market
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