Customers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will pay higher electricity bills for December, and the power distribution company is blaming the depreciation of the Philippine peso.
In an emailed statement, Meralco said it will increase electricity rates by P0.1011 to P8.36 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in December.
“This translates to an increase of around P20 in the total electricity bill of a household with a monthly consumption of 200 kWh. The increase this month is mainly due to the upward movement in the generation charge,” the company said.
“The increase resulted mainly from a significant weakening of the peso against the US dollar,” it said.
This month’s overall rate compares with PhP8.61 per kWh December 2015.
The Philippine peso has been trading at eight-year lows against the dollar and has touched an intraday weakness of P50:$1, the lowest in 10 years.
As a result, Meralco said the generation charge this month will go up by P0.0915 per kWh from P3.8436 per kWh in November.
Meralco noted that December’s overall rate is still lower by P0.25 per kWh compared with P8.61 per kWh December 2015.
The cost of electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs), whose billings are around 96 percent dollar-denominated, increased by P0.2615 per kWh, Meralco noted.
“The increase is also due to lower dispatch this month with the scheduled maintenance of Sta. Rita Module 30, during the whole supply month. The share of the IPPs to Meralco’s total requirements for November was at 36.4 percent,” it said.
Also, the cost of power from plants under the Power Supply Agreements (PSA) supposedly rose by P0.2214 per kWh, mainly due to higher fuel cost and a weaker peso against dollar.
“PSA billings are likewise affected by the peso depreciation as around two-thirds of their costs are dollar-denominated. The share of PSAs stood at 40.8 percent,” Meralco noted.
Charges from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) decreased by P0.3734 per kWh, which partly mitigated the higher charges from the IPPs and PSAs.
Spot prices have remained low in November, because of lower demand and fewer outages compared with October. The share of WESM to Meralco’s total requirements went up from 20.1 percent to 22.5 percent.
— with Ted Cordero and Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VS, GMA News
from GMA News Online