ERC chief says power hikes expected this summer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — Consumers should expect higher electricity bills during the summer months as the dry season sparks a rise in energy demand and thin supply, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief.

During the Pandesal Forum on Thursday, ERC Chairperson and CEO Monalisa Dimalanta said electricity rates “historically” increase during hot months.

“Historically kapag summer months, tumataas ‘yung demand and yet ‘yung supply lumiliit,” she said.

[Translation: Historically during the summer months, the demand increases and yet the supply decreases.]

Since the water level may be at its lowest during the months of March to May, the ERC executive said this would have an effect on hydropower. As a result, power generation companies would heavily rely on more expensive sources, such as coal and gas.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla earlier urged consumers to conserve power.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines likewise warned of a tight supply during summer, citing a forecast from the Department of Energy that showed a total peak demand of 13,125 megawatts (MW) for the Luzon grid is seen to occur towards the end of May.

For the Visayas and Mindanao grids, the peak demand is expected to reach 2,691MW and 2,395MW, respectively.