Brownouts, higher power rates this summer


POWER consumers will be dealt with a double whammy this summer — rotating brownouts and higher electricity rates.

Luis Miguel Aboitiz, President and Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA), said the power shortage will result in an automatic price hike because of the use of fuel by generating companies.

“I guarantee that there will be a spike (in power rates) because that happens whenever Malampaya shuts down,” Aboitiz said in a briefing in Makati City.

Aboitiz said the cost of electricity will likely go up by P1 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

“Once the gas plans shift to liquid fuel, there’s around P1 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) automatic increase. If you buy diesel, it is more expensive than you buy gas,” he told reporters.

Lawrence S. Fernandez, vice president and head of the Utility Economics of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), said the power rate hike may be around P1 per kWh but the actual increase will depend on the current price of fuel.

Any power rate adjustment will be reflected in consumers’ April to May billing statements.

To mitigate the power shortfall during the hot summer months, Meralco has signed up at least 323 companies for the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

The ILP encourages heavy electricity consumers such as shopping malls, condominiums and companies to run their own generator sets to ease power demand on the grid.

The participants will be reimbursed by the government for their expenses in using their gensets. RITCHIE A. HORARIO


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