Customers of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) can expect their electricity bills to go up by 10.1 centavos per kilowatt-hour this month due to the imposition of a new universal charge for stranded contract costs by a state-run energy agency.
Thus, households consuming 100 kWh every month will have to pay P12.60 more for their electricity this month, while those consuming 200 kWh will shell out an additional P20.20, according to Lawrence S. Fernandez, assistant vice president and head of utility economics of Meralco.
Households consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh and 500 kWh every month will pay an additional P30.30, P40.40 and P50.50, respectively, Fernandez said in a text message on Friday.
In a separate statement, Meralco explained that the increase stemmed from the collection by the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. of a new universal charge amounting to 19.38 centavos per kWh. The new fee was meant to recover from all power consumers P53 billion worth of stranded contracts costs over the next several years.
The imposition of this charge, however, has more than offset the combined reductions in the generation, transmission and system loss charges this month.
According to Meralco, the generation charge alone fell by 5 centavos per kWh to P5.19 per kWh in March from February’s P5.24 per kWh.
This month’s generation charge is reportedly at its lowest level since May 2011. On a year-on-year comparison, this is lower by 14 per kWh compared to generation charge in March 2012.
Meralco explained that the reduction in the generation charge reflected the lower cost of power obtained by the company from its new power supply agreements (PSAs), and from its existing independent power producers (IPPs).
The cost of electricity sourced through these PSAs—which were the result of Meralco’s earlier negotiations with key power generators—fell by 19 centavos per kWh during the February supply month (which will be reflected in the March bill).
IPP power rates also decreased by 25 centavos per kWh due largely to the improved output of Quezon Power’s coal-fired power facility.
Nothing for Meralco
For the supply month of February, Meralco sourced 54 percent of its power requirements from the PSAs, 38 percent from the IPPs, and 8 percent from other sources, including the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM).
Meralco also reported that the transmission and system loss charges to residential customers also went down by 3 centavos per kWh.
The power firm stressed anew that it does not earn from generation charges. Payments for the generation charge, which is a pass-through cost for Meralco, goes to the power suppliers such as the IPPs, participating plants in the PSAs, state-run National Power Corp. and WESM.
The rest of the pass-through costs included transmission, taxes, universal charges, and other charges.
Meralco’s own rates—in the form of distribution, supply and metering charges—account for only about 16 percent of the total electricity bill.