Meralco sees hike in electricity rates in April | Inquirer Business
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Meralco sees hike in electricity rates in April

Consumers are expected to pay more for electricity in April due to rising demand and increasing spot market prices amid summer heat, according to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

The power distribution giant said in a statement that peak demand in Luzon increased by more than 900 megawatts (MW) in March due to warmer temperatures and as power plants with generating capacities totaling at least 3,400 MW continued to be offline.

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“Based on early, initial projections, there may be higher generation charge for the month of April 2021 due to observed increase in WESM (wholesale electricity spot market) prices,” Meralco vice president Joe Zaldarriaga said.

Zaldarriaga said the average spot price for the Luzon grid had reached the P8-P9 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) range in the first two weeks of March.

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He said this was about treble the P3 per kWh daily average that was recorded for the entire month of February.

“But do note that March 2021 marks the second straight month of downward adjustment for power rates as the overall rate for a typical household decreased by [35.98 centavos] per kWh,” he said.

“This is equivalent to a decrease of around P72 in the total bill of residential customers consuming 200 kWh,” he added.

Electricity consumption among households is expected to increase in the summer months by 10 percent to 40 percent compared to the levels in the cooler months of January and February.

Earlier this week, following the announcement of a weeklong implementation of the strictest community quarantine measures, Meralco announced it was immediately suspending all disconnection activities until April 15.

“We hope this measure will contribute to easing the burden of our customers and provide enough relief and time for them to settle their bills,” Meralco chief commercial officer Ferdinand Geluz said.

Also, Meralco intends to continue vital operations such as meter reading as ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

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“Meralco’s business operations, including meter reading activities, will continue despite the stricter quarantine measures,” Geluz said.

“Rest assured there will be strict implementation of health protocols in order to safeguard the health and safety of both customers and our personnel,” he said. “This will ensure that actual consumption for the month will be billed accordingly.” INQ

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