Power demand recovers in Sept

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    In what could be a sign of economic recovery, peak power demand in Luzon in September breached 2019 monthly figures for the first time since the pandemic and the lockdown in March.

    The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said peak demand last month reached 10,570 megawatts (MW), 1.7 percent higher than 2019’s 10,392 MW.

    “There is a possibility the economy is recovering. Likewise, September 2020 is much warmer compared to September 2019. We are hoping this will continue for the rest of the year,” said Lawrence Fernandez, Meralco vice president and head of utility economics.

    In an online briefing over the weekend, Fernandez said after five consecutive months of reduction, October power rates will go up by P0.1212 per kilowatt hour (kWh) due to higher generation charge as price of power from the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) also went up.

    Net of P1/kw. October power rates covering Meralco franchise will go up by P0.1212 per kilowatt hour this month.

    The upward rate adjustment will be equivalent to an increase of around P24 in the bill of a residential customer consuming 200 kWh monthly. It brings overall power rates to P8.5500 per kWh from last month’s P8.4288 per kWh.

    The company said despite the slight price hike, the net rate reduction since the start of the year is still well over P1 per kWh.

    From P4.0860 per kWh in September, the generation charge increased by P0.1373 per kWh to P4.2233 per kWh this October as supply tightened while demand increased in the WESM.

    Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga pending instructions from the Energy Regulatory Commission, the company may start issuing disconnection notices to customers with pending arrears.

    Zaldarriaga said Meralco will assist customers st“But again, we will be very considerate since this is not a business as usual (scenario because of the pandemic.) It is not our priority to disconnect, we want our customers who will be having problems to go to our business centers for us to also learn how we can help them,” Zaldarriaga claimed.