Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, announced on Wednesday that there will be a slight increase in the rate for a typical household this December of P0.1011 per kilowatthour after four straight months of reduction totalling P0.35, thereby bringing it to P8.36 per kWh.
This translates to an increase of around P20 in the total electricity bill of a household with monthly consumption of 200 kWh. The increase this month is mainly a result of the upward movement in the generation charge.
This month’s overall rate, however, is still lower by P0.25 per kWh compared to December 2015’s P8.61 per kWh.
This December, there was an increase in the generation charge, which is P0.0915 per kWh higher than last month’s P3.8436 per kWh. At P3.9351 per kWh, the generation charge is P0.1948 per kWh lower compared to December 2015’s P4.1299 per kWh.
The increase resulted mainly from a significant weakening of the peso against the US dollar. From a level of P46.580 per US dollar in August, the peso depreciated to P48.405 per US dollar in October, and further to P49.73 per US dollar in November.
Partly because of this, the cost of power from the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), whose billings are around 96 percent dollar-denominated, increased by P0.2615 per kWh. The increase resulted from lower dispatch this month with the scheduled maintenance of Santa Rita Module 30 during the whole supply month.
The share of the IPPs to Meralco’s total requirements for November was at 36.4 percent.
Cost of power sourced from plants under the Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) also increased by P0.2214 per kWh mainly because of higher fuel cost and the weakening of the peso against the US dollar. PSA billings are also affected by peso depreciation as around two-thirds of their costs are dollar-denominated. The PSAs stood at 40.8 percent to power distributor.
Overall charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) decreased by P0.3734 per kWh, which partly mitigated the higher charges from the IPPs and PSAs. Spot prices remained low in December because of lower demand and fewer outages compared to those of last month. The share of WESM purchases to Meralco’s total requirements went up from 20.1 to 22.5 percent.
In terms of transmission charge, there was also an increase in rates for residential customers by P0.0031 per kWh, mainly because of slight increase in ancillary service charges.
Taxes and other charges also increased by a combined amount of around P0.0065 per kWh.
Meralco’s distribution, supply and metering charges, meanwhile, have remained unchanged for 17 months, after these registered reductions in July 2015.
The distribution company 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 National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Meanwhile, in preparation for the coming holidays, Meralco encourages its customers to practice energy safety and efficiency this Christmas season, especially with Christmas lights.
It gives a few useful tips that consumers can follow when buying or using Christmas lights this December.
• When buying Christmas lights, test them first and ensure that all bulbs are functioning, and that the plug is not loose.
• LED Christmas lights can save you up to P60 per month compared to incandescent bulbs.
• Choose LED Christmas lights not only to save on energy but also to be safe from accidents.
• If reusing old Christmas lights, check the bulbs and the plug, and ensure that these are still working properly.
• Do not use indoor-type lights and décor for outdoor purposes and, when replacing light bulbs, care should be taken and be sure that the Christmas light set is unplugged.