Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is projecting a rise in electricity demand this year, which will be by 4.5 to 5 percent from 2017.
“We’ll probably end this year at about 4.5 percent to 5 percent. I think we have to see what the final November and December figures are, but call it a 4.5-percent to 5-percent growth from last year,” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said.
Increased consumption from all consumer segments contributed to this year’s energy sales growth.
Energy sales volumes increased by 5 percent to 42,102 GW hours mostly due to growing customer base, positive economic conditions, stable power supply, and low power-plant outages in 2017.
Customer retail and network initiatives supported the acceleration of new customer acquisitions and energizations, and to minimize distribution-system interruption, Meralco said.
Reyes said Meralco’s earnings this year will see improvements from last year’s, without citing any figures.
“Compared to 2017, I think because of this volume growth, we expect a slightly better bottom line,” he said.
Last year, Meralco logged a net income of P20.4, up 6 percent from the previous year primarily because to higher electricity sales.
At end of 2017, core income also improved by 3 percent to P20.2 billion, from 2016’s P19.6 billion.
In terms of revenue, the utility firm logged a 10 percent increase at P282.55 billion, from P257.18 billion in 2016. Electricity revenues totalled to P275.2 billion, while the remaining P59.6 billion was allocated for distribution revenue.
“We have to recognize that 2017 and 2018 are high base years so you cannot continue to grow at a same rate if your preceding year is a high base,” he explained.
He noted factors that could decrease the consumer’s power consumption such as, cooler temperature, higher inflation, interest rates, weaker peso and increase adoption of rooftop solar, and battery and energy storage.
“These are headwinds that potentially mean that growth in electricity may decelerate. These will impact not only demand for electricity but also demand for products and services,” Reyes noted.
At end-September of this year, Meralco recorded 6.5 million customers.