POWER distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Thursday announced an increase in the May electric bill.
In a media briefing, the company said that an adjustment of P0.1761 per kWh will be reflected in the electricity rate this May, bringing the overall rate for a typical household to P11.4929 per kWh from the previous month’s P11.3168 per kWh.
This meant that for residential customers consuming 200 kWh, the adjustment is equivalent to an increase of around P35 in their total electricity bill.
Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldariaga said that the generation charge went up to P7.6697 this month from P7.3295 per kWh in April due to higher Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and Power Supply Agreements (PSA) costs.
He added that it had included the collection of the final installment of deferred charges, equivalent to around P0.20 per kWh.
Meralco said they had coordinated with its suppliers and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to stagger the collection of around P1.1 billion in generation costs in the March billing to cushion the impact of the rate increase to its customers.
For this billing month, Zaldariag said that WESM charges increased by P1.7367 per kWh due to higher peak demand as the Luzon grid registered 12,235 MW on April 19, up by 732 MW than the peak recorded in March.
With the tighter supply conditions, Meralco explained that the secondary price cap was triggered 22.16% of the time in the April supply month versus 11.01% in the previous month.
Meralco sourced 18% of its total requirement from the market during this period.
The charges from PSAs also went up by P0.9086 per kWh as the Peso depreciation affected more than 26% of PSA costs that were dollar-denominated.
Lower excess energy deliveries of some PSAs, which were priced at a discount, also contributed to the increase. This month’s PSA rate also reflected the impact of Meralco’s emergency PSAs with South Premiere Power Corp. and Therma Luzon Inc. which were implemented beginning
March 26 and April 12, respectively.
PSAs accounted for 47% of Meralco’s energy requirement.
Mitigating further increase in generation charge was the P1.4014 per kWh reduction in the charges from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) mainly due to higher average plant dispatch.
First Gas-Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo plants returned to normal operations from their respective scheduled maintenance outages last March.Malampaya natural gas prices of First Gas plants were also lower for the April supply month following its quarterly repricing to reflect recent trends in international crude oil prices. IPPs covered 35% of Meralco’s total energy requirement.
This month’s rate increase was tempered by the P0.2455 per kWh reduction in the transmission charge due to significantly lower ancillary service charges.
Other charges, comprising taxes, subsidies, and universal charges, registered a net increase of P0.0814 per kWh.
This already included the P0.0433 per kWh increase on the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UC-ME) rate as ordered by the ERC in a Notice of Resolution dated 22 March 2023.
Collection of the Feed-In Tariff Allowance (FIT-All), meanwhile, remains suspended until the August billing month in accordance with the ERC resolution extending the collection suspension for another six months starting March 2023.
Pass-through charges for generation and transmission are paid by Meralco to the power suppliers and the grid operator, respectively; while taxes, universal charges, and FIT-All are all remitted to the government.
Meralco’s distribution charge, on the other hand, has not moved since the P0.0360 per kWh reduction for a typical residential customer in August 2022.
Meralco is set to complete this month the implementation of the last distribution-related refund, equivalent to P0.8656 per kWh for residential customers.
The impact of this will be felt in the June billing period.
Meanwhile, to better manage electricity consumption, which historically spikes between 10 to 40% during the dry season, Meralco encourages the public to embrace energy efficiency and conservation.
At the Laging Handa Public Breifing, Energy Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra said that they are expecting the yellow alert status in Luzon to persist until the next month.
“Sa Luzon, meron tayong posibleng yellow alert hanggang sa dulo ng Mayo and until sa unang tatlong linggo ng June,” she said.
(In Luzon there is a possibility of yellow alerts until the end of May, and until the first three weeks of June)
But for Visayas if will be limited to three to four days especially at night and Mindanao, may have no alerts.
Guevarra also said the DOE is pushing for the reopening of the 1,200 MW Ilijan power plant, which can help stabilize the power supply in Luzon.
Meanwhile the Energy Regulatory Commission said that the orders and decisions on rates had been made accessible in online Generation Rate Database
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) enhanced its online Generation Rate Database, allowing easy access to ERC’s orders and decisions that served as the basis for the generation rates implemented in the different franchise areas across the country.
This improvement follows the ERC’s launch of its Generation Rate Database on its website on May 3, 2023.
The online Generation Rate Database provides information on the approved generation rates per Distribution Utility (DU), per region in the country, and per technology used to source electricity.
With the improved database, consumers will be informed of generation rates implemented in their franchise areas and the ERC’s orders and decisions approving the rates. Meanwhile, industry participants, such as DUs, will have access to benchmarking information that can aid in their decision-making processes when contracting power supply agreements.
The database also ensures that DUs are aware of the maximum tariff allowed to be collected from consumers in case of Emergency Power Supply Agreements (EPSAs).
To access the database, internet users can visit the ERC official website at https://bit.ly/44QpGVF. Users are advised to regularly check the database for changes in reference rates, as the data will be updated from time to time.
Catherine R. Cueto