MERALCO jacks up June rates due to thin power supply in May

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The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) has announced a Php0.0798 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increase in its electric billing for June due to price spikes in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)

This translates to a Php16 increase for typical households consuming 200kWh a month. 

As expected, the generation charge, which makes up bulk of the bill, went up by Php0.069/kWh to Php4.6171/kWh in June from Php4.547/kWh in May, as WESM prices also increased by Php1.632/kWh to Php6.4609/kWh in June from Php4.8287/kWh in May. 

The power giant cited the usual increase in demand in the Luzon Grid during the summer amid multiple plants’ unplanned outages as the trigger for the surge in the generation charge.

The peak demand in the Luzon grid for the year so far was registered on May 21 at 11,556 megawatts (MW). The grid was placed on Yellow Alert as early as May 5. A Yellow Alert indicates thinning power reserves.

The June bill does not yet cover the period of the Red Alerts and rotational brownouts, which lasted from May 31-June 2.

Meanwhile, MERALCO Head of Utility Economics Lawrence Fernandez warned customers of possible brownouts until the first week of July with reserves remaining low.

Nonetheless, MERALCO spokesperson and vice president for corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said there is still ample supply with the onset of the rainy season.

“Since the rainy season began, we have started to see demand taper off a bit and hopefully we have plants coming online soon. So far, we are on a white alert status in the past couple of days but as far as the overall situation is concerned, we take it a day at a time. We get the information from the system grid operator and act accordingly so we have measures in place,” Zaldarriaga said.

The Department of Energy previously said that as a rule of thumb, a degree of increase in the heat index translates to around 100MW in additional power consumption. Several areas in Luzon registered a heat index of up to 53 degrees Celsius on the weekend preceding the Red Alerts.

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