Meralco bill up in October amid supply squeeze
Customers of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will pay 12.12 centavos more per kilowatt-hour in their October billing as tighter electricity supply conditions caused an increase in the overall rate for the first time in five months.
This means a typical household that used 200 kWh will see their next monthly bill increase by P24.
The distribution giant’s latest overall rate is pegged at P8.55 per kWh, up from P8.4288 in September.
The generation charge alone went up by 13.73 centavos per kWh to P4.2233 from P4.086 mainly due to higher charges at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
“Higher Luzon demand and more generation capacity on outage resulted in P1.1605 per kWh increase in WESM rate,” Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said.
“Had WESM prices remained at their [previous levels], the generation charge and the overall rate this month would have decreased by 8 centavos and 14 centavos, respectively,” Zaldarriaga added.
Now that Meralco has also run out of force majeure claims, the cost of electricity sourced from power supply agreements, or contracts entered into since 2000, increased by 10.44 centavos per kWh.
This means Meralco is now receiving electricity at contracted volumes. In the past several months, the company had filed for and availed of force majeure claims to avoid take-or-pay rates.
On the other hand, electricity bought from independent power producers, or suppliers with contracts signed in the 1990s, decreased slightly by 1.74 centavos per kWh since the power plants had more runtime.
Meralco said there was also a decrease of 1.61 centavos per kWh in the transmission, tax and other charges.
Zaldarriaga allayed fears Meralco would start disconnecting service next month for customers whose incomes were disrupted by the pandemic and had not settled their previous bills. The regulator-mandated grace period will lapse at the end of October.
“We are still waiting for guidance from the Energy Regulatory Commission on what the policy will be under Bayanihan to Recover As One Law,” he said. “But our priority remains keeping the lights on and our services continuous instead of disconnecting our services.”
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