Power rates up by P0.10 per kWh for Dec. means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines -- Power bills will increase by P0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to P8.36, driven by the generation charge this December, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said Wednesday.

The bill of the average household with a monthly consumption of 200 kWh, will increase by P20, the distribution facility said, attributing this month’s increase to the rise in generation charge by P0.09 per kWh to P3.93 per kWh, largely due to the weakening of the peso against the US dollar.

The peso weakened from P46.58 in August to P49.73 last month. This led independent power producers (IPPs), whose billings are about 96 percent dollar-denominated, to hike charges by P0.26 centavos per kWh.

The power firm noted that the month’s overall rate is lower by P0.25 per kWh, compared to last year’s rate of P8.61 per kWh.

Aside from foreign exchange losses, the company also said the increase was due to the lower dispatch of the Sta. Rita Module 30, following its maintenance shutdown in November.

Charges from power supply agreements (PSAs) also went up by P0.22 per kWh due to higher fuel costs, while the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) charges fell by P0.37 per kWh. Lower WESM rates partly offset the higher charges from IPPs and PSAs.

Meralco sourced its capacity from IPPs at 36.4 percent, PSAs at 40.8 percent, and the WESM at 22.5 percent.

The transmission charge of residential customers meanwhile also increased by P0.0031 per kWh due to the higher ancillary service charge, while taxes and other charges reflected the hike by P0.0065 per kWh.

Meralco pointed out that its distribution charge has remained constant since July 2015. The firm added it does not earn from its pass-through charges, such as the generation and transmission charges.

The Manila Electric Co. is the largest distribution utility of the country, with more than 5.5 million customers in Luzon.