Meralco customers to see lower bills in December

Meralco customers to see lower bills in December

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS in areas served by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see lower electricity bills in December amid a drop in generation charges.

Meralco said in a statement that it will cut the rates by P0.7961 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P11.2584 per kWh in December from P12.0545 in November.

“This month’s reduction was able to more than offset the increases implemented in the past two months,” Meralco said.

Households consuming 200 kWh will see their monthly electricity bills reduced by around P159.

Meanwhile, households consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh will see a decrease of P239, P318, and P398, respectively, in their December bills.

The distribution utility attributed the lower rates to the P0.6606 reduction in generation charge to P6.5332 in December, as charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and independent power producers (IPPs) fell.

The generation charge accounts for nearly 83% of a consumer’s total monthly electricity bill.

WESM charges fell by P2.7624 per kWh as the demand in Luzon went down by around 421 megawatts (MW) and average plant capacity on outage decreased by about 679 MW.

“Lower spot market prices avoided the imposition of the secondary price cap in November,” Meralco said.

Meralco said charges from IPPs slipped by P0.4731 per kWh as First Gas’ plants reduced the use of liquid fuel and international coal prices dropped.

Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesperson and vice-president for corporate communications, said at a virtual briefing that the peso appreciation also contributed to lower rates for the month.

“The peso slightly strengthened and as you know, the operations of these plants are predominantly dollar denominated, especially fuel that’s why this helps… in terms of managing costs,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said partly in Filipino.

The peso closed at P55.485 per dollar on Nov. 30, down by P1.245 from its finish of P56.73 on Oct. 31, based on Bankers Association of the Philippines data.

Meanwhile, the power distributor saw a slight uptick in charges from power supply agreements (PSAs) of P0.0805 per kWh due to lower average PSA dispatch.

WESM, IPPs, and PSAs accounted for 20%, 32%, and 48%, respectively, of the company’s total energy requirement for December.

Transmission and other charges, which include taxes and subsidies, also slipped by P0.1355 per kWh, Meralco said.

The collection of the feed-in tariff allowance (FIT-All) stood at a rate of 0.0364 per kWh. FIT-All collection, however, remains suspended as directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Meralco’s distribution charge has remained unchanged at P0.0360 per kWh since August last year.

Citing a study from the International Energy Consultants, Meralco said that its rates “remain fair and reasonable” as its average tariff last year ranked 21st out of 46 energy markets in the world, and 3% below the global average.

“It shows that in the past five months, even if the electricity tariffs of Meralco increased by 24%, [it] is almost the same with the 23% global rates,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said.

“Considering that the Luzon power market is unsubsidized, and the majority of the electricity is produced using imported fuel, Meralco appears to have done a very good job of minimizing tariff increases,” the power distributor said.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.