Meralco rates may go up this month

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — Customers of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) may see higher bills this month as the power distributor is set to implement a deferred collection of around ₱1.1 billion in generation charges, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced Wednesday.

In a statement, ERC said Meralco informed the commission through a letter received last Monday that the deferral would result in an increase of ₱0.62 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the company's total rate for March and April.

"A typical 200kWh residential customer is expected to experience a total rate increase of ₱1.11 per kWh when other billing components, such as systems loss and taxes, are included," the ERC said.

The commission said the total rate is less than the expected hike of around ₱0.92 per kWh for the February supply month, but it would still validate the increase as to compliance with applicable agreements.

The ERC noted that Meralco said some of its suppliers had to use "more expensive" alternative fuels as the SPEX-Malampaya natural gas went under a scheduled maintenance outage last Feb. 4 to 18.

"It further claimed that the escalation of prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) contributed to the expected increase in the generation charge in its franchise area," the ERC said.

The power distributor also said it coordinated with its suppliers to request the deferral of charges from their billings for February to "cushion the impact of the increase in generation rate to its customers," the ERC added.

In February, Meralco had a reduction of ₱0.0106 per kWh in its overall electricity rate, which translated to a decrease of around ₱2 in the bills of households consuming 200 kWh.