Meralco to increase electric bill this March

Manila, Philippines – The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) announced Friday that there will be an increase in the electric bill this month mainly due to higher generation charge due to the Malampaya shutdown.

It said an adjustment of P0.5453 per kilowatt hour (kWh) will be implemented.

This brings the total rate for a typical household to P11.4348 per kWh from the previous month’s P10.8895 per kWh.

This means that for residential customers consuming 200 kWh, the adjustment is equivalent to an increase of around P109 in their total electric bill.

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said during a press briefing that the increase in electric bill is because of the generation charge caused by the maintenance shutdown.

Zaldarriaga said the costs went up due to the Malampaya and Quezon Power shutdown and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

Based on existing data, the generation charge went up by P0.4636 to P7.3790 from P6.9154 per kWh the previous month due to higher supply costs, mainly because of the Malampaya gas-to-power facility maintenance shutdown from February 4 to 18.

Meralco Regulatory Management Office head Jose Ronald Valles explained that the increase would have  been higher had it not been for Meralco’s initiative to coordinate with the Energy Regulatory Commission and its suppliers for the deferral of generation costs amounting to P0.40/kWh.

It will be billed on a staggered basis over the next two months or in April and May, in coordination with the ERC.

Likewise, charges from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) increased by P0.5784 per kWh, net of deferred generation costs.

The 15-day shutdown of the Malampaya facility compelled the First Gas-Sta. Rita and First Gas-San Lorenzo plants to operate using more expensive alternative fuel to ensure continuity of supply.

Contributing to the increase as well were Quezon Power’s maintenance shutdown, which was scheduled on January 21 until February 19 to ensure availability during the summer months; and the peso depreciation, which affected 98 percent of IPP costs that are dollar-denominated.

IPPs accounted for 35 percent of Meralco’s total energy requirement for the period.

WESM charges were higher by P1.4795 per kWh, coming from an increase in demand in the Luzon grid.

Peak and average demand went up by 457 megawatts (MW) and 675 MW, respectively, while average capacity on outage remained at around 3,800 MW.

Generation charge is a pass-through charge to the consumers, which Meralco collects.