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Meralco rates up P1.83/kilowatthour

March 10, 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES–CUSTOMERS OF MANILA ELECTRIC CO. (MERALCO) CAN EXPECT TO PAY P1.83 PER KILOWATTHOUR (KWH) MORE IN THEIR ELECTRIC BILLS THIS MONTH.
Meralco incurred a total generation cost of P15.9 billion for the supply month of February, translating to a generation charge of P6.76/kWh to its customers in their March 2010 bill.
Meralco has filed a petition before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) seeking to lower by 44.46 centavos the increase in the generation charge for the March billing, from P1.8298/kWh which it is allowed to recover under ERC guidelines, to P1.3852/kWh.
Meralco said in its petition that in view of the substantial amount of the generation costs, it would not be able to promptly pay the cost of generation to its suppliers without immediately recovering said costs from its customers.
In order to mitigate the effects of the abrupt increase in generation cost, Meralco proposed that instead of reflecting the actual generation charge of P6.76/kWh in its March billing, it instead be allowed to implement a lower generation charge of P6.3154/kWh.
Meralco also proposed that the balance of the generation cost amounting to P1.046 billion be spread over a six-month period starting April 2010, representing a collection of seven centavos per kWh.
Meralco said the “sharp and sudden” increase in generation cost was caused by the high prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which in turn was caused by preventive or emergency maintenance, reduced generation because of the prevailing El Niño phenomenon, and increased consumer demand in the summer season.
Meralco reminds its customers to use electricity wisely during the hot months because demand spikes during this period.
“The hot summer months usually raise the consumption levels of our customers,” Meralco external communications manager Joe Zaldarriaga said.–Donnabelle Gatdula