Utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) reported flat profit of P4 billion in the first quarter of this year, admitting that consumer concerns over its electricity rates weighed on earnings.
Meralco said net profit in the first quarter slipped by 0.4 percent to P4.0 billion from P4.02 billion in the first quarter of 2013.
Revenue during the quarter also fell 15 percent to P55 billion from P64.8 billion in the same period last year.
”Cooler temperature, electricity price concerns of the consumers, energy efficiency initiatives, and a slight uptick in inflation weighed heavily on electricity consumption, particularly consumers,” Meralco chief finance officer Betty Siy-Yap said in a briefing held Monday.
Oscar Reyes, president of Meralco, explained that consumer concerns over power tariffs stemmed from Meralco’s unprecedented rate hike in December 2013, which was stopped by the Supreme Court when it issued an indefinite Temporary Restraining Order against the rate increase.
He also noted that the temperature was still relatively cooler than the January to March period of 2012, hence the lower consumption.
Siy-Yap said the company recorded lower electric revenues, which account for 98 percent
of the company’s total revenues.
Meralco’s electric revenues fell 15.8 percent from P64 billion to P54 billion.
“The PEMC (Philippine Electricity Market Corp.) recalculated the amount and sent a negative bill to Meralco amounting to P9.3 billion [for the November supply month]. We recognized that as reduction in purchased power costs and reduction in liability, therefore corresponding reduction of revenue and receivable,” Siy-Yap said.