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Meralco rate up by 8.94¢/kwh in March on higher WESM prices, IPP charges

Customers of Manila Electric Co. will see their monthly bill go up for the second time in a row this month—this time with an additional 8.94 centavos per kilowatt-hour—as prices at the spot market and charges by independent power producers (IPPs) went up.

In a statement, Meralco said this month’s hike would mean an increase in the bill by about P19 for a typical residential customer that consumes 200 kwh in a month.

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It said that for the March billing period, its overall charge went up to P10.4961 per kwh from P10.4067 per kwh in February.

Generation charge fell by 29.66 centavos a kwh to P5.5973 a kwh from P5.8939 previously due to lower charges by plants under power supply agreements (PSAs). This translates to a decrease of P1.0768 a kwh in the cost of electricity sourced through PSAs, which was 48 percent of Meralco’s supply.

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This was attributed to the strengthening of the peso against the US dollar, lower fuel prices and higher average plant dispatch.

This was, however, offset by higher prices of power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and higher charges by IPPs. Power prices at WESM — from which Meralco gets 12 percent of its supply — went up by 51.78 centavos a kwh.

This was due to tighter supply conditions in Luzon amid higher demand for power and more frequent plant outages.

Also, IPP charges went up by 5.49 centavo per kwh due to lower average plant dispatch.

Transmission charges to residential consumers rose by 2.88 centavos a kwh, while taxes and other charges went up by 35.72 centavos per kwh.

The utility’s distribution, supply and metering charges have remained unchanged for 44 months so far.

In the meantime, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said that a bicameral committee had approved the final version of the bill that could bring down electricity costs by some P1 a kwh.

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This, he said, would be achieved by using the government’s P204-billion share from the Malampaya fund to pay for the stranded contract costs and debts assumed by Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM).

This would cut the universal charges passed on to consumers, he said. —WITH A REPORT FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA

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TAGS: independent power producers (IPPs), Manila Electric Co., Meralco
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