Meralco rates down in May by 41 centavos per kWh


Customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) should expect electricity bills to go down by P0.41 per kilowatt hour (kWh), thereby bringing it down to P8.444 per kWh. The reduction was due to the downward movement in generation, transmission, taxes, and other charges.

For  a typical household consuming 200 kWh, this translates to a reduction of around PhP82 in their electricity bill.

This month’s overall rate is lower by P1.54 per kWh compared to May 2015’s P9.98 per kWh. It is also the lowest since January 2010, or over a period of six years.

The decrease in the overall rates was primarily due to the generation charge, which decreased by P0.21 per kWh from last month. At P3.88 per kWh, it is also P0.93 per kWh lower compared to May 2015’s P4.81 per kWh. May’s generation charge is the lowest since October 2004.

Power plants utilizing natural gas from Malampaya, namely, South Premier-Ilijan, First Gas-Sta. Rita, and First Gas-San Lorenzo, all registered reduced charges, mainly due to lower fuel costs.  Malampaya natural gas prices are adjusted quarterly and are indexed to world crude oil prices.  The current repricing covers months when crude oil spot prices in the world market fell to as low as US$31 per barrel.  The three natural gas plants supplied more than half, or 54 percent of Meralco’s requirements.

As a result, charges from the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) decreased by P0.19 per kWh, led by lower rates from the First Gas plants.

Meanwhile, plants under the Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) registered a reduction of P0.25 per kWh, driven by the higher dispatch of Calaca. Masinloc also registered lower rates due to lower instances of outages. These offset higher charges from Pagbilao, which was on scheduled maintenance from April 1 to 16.

Similarly, charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) registered a decrease of P1.98 per kWh. This was mainly due to fewer power plant outages during the April supply month as compared to March.  At the time, supply was affected by the scheduled maintenance of several large power-generating units, including Calaca unit 2, GNPower unit 1, South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp unit 1, Masinloc unit 2, and Quezon Power.

The share of PSAs, IPPs, and WESM to Meralco’s total power requirements stood at 45.9  percent, 42.4 percent, and 11.7 percent respectively.

Transmission charge likewise registered a decrease of P0.10 per kWh due to the reduction in National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) ancillary charges and a slight decrease in Power Delivery Service (PDS) charge.

Taxes and other charges also decreased by P0.10 per kWh following the reduction in generation and transmission charges.

Meralco’s distribution, supply, and metering charges, meanwhile, have remained unchanged for 10 months, after they registered a reduction in July 2015. Meralco reiterated that it does not earn from the pass-through charges, such as the generation and transmission charges. Payment for the generation charge goes to the power suppliers, while payment for the transmission charge goes to the NGCP.

In relation to the upcoming 2016 elections, Meralco reiterated that it has already completed inspection, maintenance, and repair of its distribution facilities to ensure that they are in choice condition. Meralco added that the company has also already completed inspection of polling and canvassing centers within its franchise area, and has made the necessary recommendations to the respective school/building administrators to address potential troubles in the places concerned.

Meralco also said that more than 200 generators will be on standby on election day, to be carried by roving Meralco crews. These generator sets intend to provide basic lighting to polling and canvassing places, and to ensure the continuity of the conduct of elections in case of unexpected power interruption.

The power firm also reminded those who will be manning the polling and canvassing centers to avoid plugging in unnecessary appliances to avoid overloading. He also advised the public to refrain from using balloons, firecrackers, confetti, and party poppers near overhead lines and facilities to avoid tripping and power interruptions.

Voltaire Palaña


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