By Kris Crismundo

HIGHER BILL. Meralco says on Thursday (June 13, 2024) customers can expect higher electricity bills for June as the distribution utility hikes for two consecutive months its power rate. The increase is mainly due to pass-through fees but was tamed due to the deferment of generation costs. (File photo)

MANILA – For the second straight month, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has increased its electricity price as the June rate went up by PHP0.6436 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Meralco announced Thursday that the electricity rate in June stood at PHP12.0575 per kWh from PHP11.4139 per kWh in May.

Residential customers consuming 200 kWh may expect their bills to go higher by PHP129 this month.

The distribution utility firm attributed the higher power rate this month to the overall rate increase in the generation charges, which went up by PHP0.3466 per kWh, because of the higher costs from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

Amid the red and yellow alerts in the Luzon grid in May due to tighter power supply, Meralco increased its sourcing from the WESM to 33 percent from the previous month’s 30 percent.

WESM prices were higher in May by PHP1.5203 per kWh, Meralco said.

Higher charges from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) also went up by PHP0.0224 per kWh due to a lower average IPP dispatch and weaker peso, affecting 98 percent of the dollar-denominated IPP costs.

IPPs accounted for 29 percent of Meralco’s energy requirement for the period.

Taming the overall generation charges this month is the PHP0.2988 per kWh decrease in rates from Power Supply Agreements (PSAs).

“The increase in the generation charge this month would have been higher but Meralco took the initiative to cushion the impact of the higher pass-through costs to our customers with the help from some of our suppliers which deferred the collection of portions of their generation costs,” Meralco senior vice president and head of regulatory management office Jose Ronald Valles said.

Meralco, together with Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd., San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL), and South Premiere Power Corporation (SPPC), has postponed the collection of approximately PHP500 million in generation costs.

As a result, this month’s generation charge has been reduced by PHP0.1313 per kWh. The deferred amount will be billed incrementally over the next three months, as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We are still waiting for regulatory approval of our 400-MW interim power supply agreement with Limay Power Inc. which could significantly reduce our WESM exposure and generation costs,” Valles said.

Transmission and other charges also contributed to the increased power rate this month.

Meralco’s distribution charge has remained at PHP0.0360 per kWh since August 2022 for residential customers. (PNA)