Meralco power rates likely up this month

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    Savings. Even with the potential increase this month, overall power rates since the start of 2020 are still down P1.39 per kilowatt hour.

    Ahead of the official announcement this week, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said January power rates may increase as fixed costs from power suppliers may be spread over due to lower demand in the Luzon grid.

    Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesman, said based on initial data, generation charge for January can go up as demand in the Luzon grid went down with peak demand in December reaching 9,634 megawatts (MW) from 9,886 MW.

    Zaldarriafa said fixed costs from power suppliers may be spread over lower energy volume resulting in higher effective rates to consumers.

    He said even with the potential increase this month, overall power rates since the start of 2020 is still down P1.39 per kilowatt hour (kWh), equivalent to savings of about P278 for residential customers that consumed an average of 200 kWh last year.

    Last month, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) directed Meralco to refund customers with overcollections pass-through charges including transmission rate, system loss rate, lifeline subsidy rate and senior citizen subsidy rate.

    The ERC said upon review of Meralco’s submitted data for the period from January 2017 to December 2019, overcollection reached P1.4 billion but also incurred a total of P2.38 billion undercollection in the generation rate.

    Meralco is ordered to refund the over-recoveries at an average rate of P0.1331 per kWh for a period of approximately three months until fully refunded and to collect the computed under-recovery in the generation rate with an equivalent rate of P0.0395 per kWh for approximately 24 months until fully collected.

    Distribution utilities are required to file their respective applications to the ERC once every three years in order to ensure that the recovery of the said various pass-through costs is fair and proper.