Electricity rates down for fourth straight month

electricity rates down for fourth straight month - Electricity rates down for fourth straight month
Linemen Meralco - Electricity rates down for fourth straight month
Consumers will likely see lower electricity bills for August, Manila Electric Co. said on Monday. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

ELECTRICITY RATES in Metro Manila slipped this month, with typical households likely to see a P41 cut in their total bills, according to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

The utility giant on Monday said August’s rate will decrease by P0.2055 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P8.4911 per kWh.

Power rates continued to dwindle for the fourth straight month on a relaxed supply contract due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Households consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh, and 500 kWh could expect a decrease in their power bills by P61.65, P82.2, and P102.75, respectively.

Meralco’s generation charges fell for five straight months to P4.1241/kWh mainly brought by the lower prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and natural gas repricing.

It bought supply from the spot market, which forms 15.5% of its requirements, at P1.1200/kWh. The lower charge is due to the improved supply situation in the Luzon grid with lower average plant capacity on outage.

The company also saw a P0.3284/kWh cut in the cost of power from independent power producers, which supply 33.9% of the utility’s needs. This was attributed to the decline in natural gas prices as part of quarterly repricing. It noted the price of its Malampaya gas supply reflected that of the significant reduction in crude oil prices globally.

Meralco said purchases from power contracts, which make up more than half of its total supply needs, inched up because of decreased average plant dispatch and a drop in force majeure claims. Its relaxed contract with First Gen Hydro Power Corp. led to a customer savings of P0.0285/kWh or about P82 million this month.

Since March, its total force majeure savings totaled around P1.9 billion.

Meanwhile, the utility noted a slight cut in transmission charges for its residential customers because of lower ancillary service charges.

Last week, the listed company said it will continue meter reading activities in its service areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, which runs from Aug. 4 to 18, to reflect its customers’ actual power usage in their upcoming bills.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Adam J. Ang

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