MANILA, Philippines—Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, expects its electricity sales to grow by 7 percent this year, faster than the 1 percent posted a year ago.
For 2013, however, Meralco has set a more conservative sales growth target of 4 to 5 percent, which approximates the average yearly growth of the utility, according to Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes.
Reyes said the expected growth in 2012 was largely boosted by the “healthy pickup of [electricity] demand by industrial consumers,” particularly the semiconductor sector, construction related industries like steel and plastic, and the food and beverage industry.
“There’s a clear indication that industrial growth is healthier now than it was last year,” Reyes explained.
“Commercial demand has also been quite healthy and that’s a result of, I think, the continuous building of new malls and entertainment centers,” he added.
The electricity demand of Meralco’s residential customers, according to Reyes, posted a “decent” growth, due to the healthy inflows of remittances from overseas Filipino workers and increase in private consumer spending.
With the projected growth in sales, Meralco expects its 2012 net income to hit P16 billion.
For 2013, Reyes noted that the 4 to 5 percent growth target was based on the fact that the “fundamentals are there for the continued robust growth of the economy because there’s over P21 billion in OFW remittances, over P13 billion in BPO remittances, and we have private direct investments, on top of portfolio money flows.”
“[Those inflows] drive both private consumption spending and capital investment,” he said.
The elections next year are likewise expected to help perk up electricity demand, he added.
Reyes, however, noted that more than just the growth targets, the main concern right now should be the ability of the country to meet the rising demand for electricity.