Meralco customers to see lower bills this month

MANILA Electric Co. linemen work on fixing electric posts in Tondo, Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will see lower bills this month due to the decline in generation and distribution charges and the ongoing refund of a previous over-collection.

In a statement on Thursday, Meralco said the overall rate for a typical household fell by P0.2087 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) this month to P9.5458 per kWh, from P9.7545 per kWh in July. 

A residential household consuming 200 kWh will see a decrease of around P42 in the monthly power bill.

Households consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh, will see monthly bills fall by P63, P83 and P104, respectively.

This is the second straight month of reduction, after Meralco lowered rates by P0.7067 per kWh in July.

“The implementation of distribution-related refunds totaling P48.3 billion as ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) continues to temper customers’ monthly bills. This is equivalent to a total refund rate of P1.8009 per kWh for residential customers,” Meralco said.

Last month, the ERC directed the utility to refund P21.8 billion following the validation of its applicable tariff for July 2015 to June 2022.

Meralco also reduced the distribution charge, equivalent to P0.0360 per kWh for typical residential customers, for the first time since July 2015.

For August, the generation charge fell by P0.1944 to P6.5812 per kWh. The pass-through cost is paid to the power suppliers.

Meralco attributed this to the lower charges from Power Supply Agreements (PSAs), which offset the rise in charges from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The PSA charges fell by P0.4273 per kWh, since this month’s rate does not include the recovery of deferred generation costs for April’s power bill.

Meralco said the higher excess energy of some PSAs, which are priced at discount, also helped lower the generation charge.

Meanwhile, IPP charges went up by P0.4213 per kWh as oil prices continued to rise in the global market.

“The underlying Malampaya natural gas price increased by 15% starting this quarter, reflecting recent spikes in world crude oil prices. Power suppliers that have pass-through adjustments in Malampaya fuel — namely, First Gas-Sta. Rita, First Gas-San Lorenzo, and First Natgas-San Gabriel — accounted for 44% of Meralco’s supply during the period,” Meralco said.

Prices at the WESM remained high, rising P0.0433 per kWh. The Luzon grid was placed on a yellow alert on July 5, when several large power plants were on forced outage.

Meralco noted that “persistently high spot market prices triggered the imposition of the secondary price cap almost 27% of the time.”

PSAs, IPPs, and WESM accounted for 52%, 43%, and 5%, respectively, of Meralco’s energy requirement during the month.

Also, the transmission charge for residential customers increased by P0.0235 per kWh, while taxes and other charges dropped by P0.0018 per kWh.

The collection of P0.0025 per kWh as universal charge for the environmental remains suspended as ordered by the ERC.

Pass-through charges from generation and transmission are paid to the power suppliers and the system operator, respectively. Taxes, universal charges, and the feed-in tariff allowance, are remitted to the government.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — AEOJ