Power rates set to rise this month

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ELECTRICITY rates will go up this month because of growing demand for power amid an ever tightening supply, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said.

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Power consumers will be charged 89 centavos more per kilowatt-hour in their April consumption, which will be reflected in their billing statements. Meralco blames the price spike on higher demand at a time when supply is limited because of the scheduled maintenance shutdown of several power plants that partly supply Luzon’s power requirements.

Meralco said the generation charge or the cost of power sold by power producers to distribution utilities, along with other components of the electricity bill, registered upward adjustments.

With the higher rates, an average household consuming 200 kWh a month will pay an additional P178 in their electricity bill.

“The primary reason for the increase in the generation charge was the tight supply condition brought about by the outage of several large power plants, coupled with an increase in demand,” Meralco said. It noted that power demand in March increased by 200 megawatts, or roughly equivalent to the consumption of 10 large malls.

Several power plants that were shut down were those operated by GN Power Ltd. Co., SEM-Calaca Power Corp., First Gas Power Corp., Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd. and South Premiere Power Corp.

As a result, prices on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) increased to P21.59 per kWh during the March supply month from P4.90 per kWh in the previous month.

Meralco, however, noted that although demand for electricity in March grew, the power firm obtained only about 4 percent of its power requirements from the WESM.

Meanwhile, a P0.20 per kWh increase in the average cost of power sourced to the Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) was mostly offset by a P0.19 per kWh reduction in the rates of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

PSAs increased from P4.57 per kWh to 4.77 per kWh, while IPP rates dropped from P5.63 per kWh to P5.44 per kWh. In terms of share to Meralco’s total power requirements, PSAs and IPPs accounted for 51 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

PSAs remained the lowest cost source of supply, Meralco said.

It added that transmission charges and taxes also went up by P0.03 and P0.11 per kWh, respectively. System loss charge also registered an increase of P0.06 per kWh.

In March, electricity consumers saw a 45-centavo per kWh reduction in their electricity billing because the generation charge, along with other components of the electricity bill, fell.

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