MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distribution utility, reported on Monday a consolidated net income of P4.8 billion for the first quarter of the year, up by 6 percent from the P4.5 billion recorded a year earlier.
Consolidated core net income for the first three months rose to P4.6 billion from P4.59 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
Meralco President Oscar Reyes said during media briefing that the growth was largely driven by its core distribution business as volume grew 3 percent to 9,317-gigagawatthours (GWh) from 9,077 GWh in the same comparable period in 2015.
“We view the first quarter as relatively soft, slower growth as compared to the first quarter of 2016. However, 2016 is quite a unique year, very very strong. There are many factors that affected energy sales volume,” Reyes said.
Meralco’s customer base grew by 4.5 percent to 6.1 million customer accounts, with 265,000 net new accounts since March 2016, or 69,000 since December 2016.
Residential, commercial, and industrial customer count rose by 5 percent, 3 percent, and 2 percent, respectively.
Residential customers continue to represent 92 percent of the total 6.1 million customer accounts. There were 44,836 prepaid electricity customers as of end-March 2017.
“We are very pleased that our customer base has grown during the first quarter at 4.5 percent. This is the highest in terms of growth rate we’ve seen compared to previous years, resulting in over 6.1 million customers as of March 31, 2017,” Reyes said.
The average consolidated distribution rate was slightly lower at P1.40 per kilowatthour (kWh) compared to P1.42 per kWh last year.