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Meralco to stagger hike in power rate

/ 11:08 PM December 06, 2013

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MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Electric Co. is to stagger the implementation of a looming record hike in power generation charge, according to a company official.

Meralco spokesperson Joe R. Zaldarriaga said in a telephone interview that the company would implement in phases the P3.44 per kilowatt-hour increase in generation charge. Thus, the full impact of the hike, said to be the highest ever, will not be felt this month.

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“We wrote a letter to the Energy Regulatory Commission seeking permission for a deferment in the implementation of the full increase in the generation charge, which is a pass-on charge. We will meet on the subject on Monday,” Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco said that while the generation charge is reflected in the utility’s monthly billing statements to customers, the collected amount goes directly to energy suppliers.

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He said the utility company earns from a different component of the monthly bill: the distribution charge.

The record increase in generation charge that was supposed to be implemented this month mainly stems from power plant outages and the scheduled November 11 to December 10 shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas field, which supplies the Sta. Rita (1,000 MW), San Lorenzo (500 MW), and Ilijan (1,200 MW).

San Lorenzo and one unit of the Ilijan plant is on outage, and the remaining plants (Sta. Rita and Ilijan 1) have resorted to more expensive liquid condensate and diesel fuel. Ilijan and Sta. Rita are said to be dealing with two- to threefold increases in fuel cost.

At the same time, scheduled and forced outages of other power plants in the Luzon grid resulted in an all-time high in power prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which provides part of Meralco’s power sourcing for Luzon.

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TAGS: Consumer Issues, electricity, Meralco, power, Power Rate Hike
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