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Meralco power purchase falls below minimum, cites ECQ

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has invoked force majeure for the distribution giant to not pay for the power that it contracted with suppliers but did not take in due to a steep drop in demand amid the COVID-19 crisis.

If the take-or-pay provisions with some of Meralco’s contracts were observed, the company’s customers will see this pass-on cost in their monthly bills.

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Even then, in the first quarter of 2020, Meralco’s consolidated core net income rose by 2 percent to P5.7 billion compared with P5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

Meralco’s latest quarterly report shows that, across its franchise areas, which represents about 70 percent of total national electricity consumption, peak demand during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)—which has been on since mid-March—“dropped by almost 40 percent to a low of 4,516 megawatts in March 2020 and further to 4,289 MW in April.

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Meralco officials said the drop in demand during the ECQ resulted in the company taking up less than the minimum volume contracted. INQ

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