Meralco announces power rate hike for May

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — Customers of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) will have to shell out a little more this month as the power distributor announced an increase in electricity rates.

"The Manila Electric Company announced today (Thursday) an upward adjustment of ₱0.1761 per kWh (kilowatt hour) in the electricity rate this May, bringing the overall rate for a typical household to ₱11.4929 per kWh from the previous month's ₱11.3168 per kWh," the company said in a statement.

Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said households consuming 200 kW per month will see ₱35 added to their bills.

"Ang bahagyang pagtaas ng singil sa kuryente ay dulot ng mas mataas na generation charge ngayong buwan," he explained in a briefing.

[Translation: The slight increase in power rates is due to the high generation charge this month.]

The generation charge rose to ₱7.6697 this month from ₱7.3295 per kWh in April due to higher Wholesale Electricity Spot Market and Power Supply Agreements costs.

Meralco said the increase was tempered by the ₱0.2455 per kWh reduction in the transmission charge due to significantly lower ancillary service charges.

"Meralco is set to complete this month the implementation of the last distribution-related refund, equivalent to ₱0.8656 per kWh for residential customers. The impact of this will be felt in the June billing period," the company added.

Meralco also urges the public to be mindful of their energy consumption as demand for electricity continues to rise amid increasing temperatures.

"Dalawa ‘yung potential impact ng El Niño event. Una ‘yung continue ‘yung comparatively elevated ‘yung temperature versus ‘yung normal," said Lawrence Fernandez, head of Meralco's utility economics.

"Second, puwedeng less rainfall, which will affect the hydroelectric plants na malaki pa ring component ng supply sa Luzon grid," he added.

[Translation: There are two potential impacts of the El Niño event. First is the comparatively elevated temperatures versus the normal. Second, there could be less rainfall, which will affect the hydroelectric plants that are a huge component of the supply in the Luzon grid.]

Meralco added the power supply for Thursday remains normal.

"Ang tawag ng NGCP [The NGCP says it] is a white condition or we have enough reserves in the grid even if we reached a new record peak demand yesterday," Fernandez said.

The company also said the entire power sector is trying to avoid the occurrence of rotational power interruptions.