MERALCO consumers to receive refund in March

MERALCO consumers

MERALCO customers are set to receive a refund in March, according to Ronald Valles, Senior Vice President and Head of Regulatory Management, corresponding to the increase in the Malampaya gas price charged by First Gas Power Corp.

According to the Philippine Star, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered MERALCO to issue the refund, stating that the power distributor should have reviewed the higher natural gas prices before passing on the increase to consumers.

ERC Chairperson, Monalisa Dimalanta, emphasized the need to validate the impact of LNG use and new gas supply contracts on MERALCO’s power purchase agreements.

MERALCO admitted not receiving a copy of the new gas supply and purchase agreement between the Malampaya Consortium and First Gen.

Joe Zaldarriaga, MERALCO’s Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications, highlighted that the rise in the generation charge was primarily due to higher costs from Independent Power Producers and Power Supply Agreements.

Valles clarified that the higher gas prices are pass-through costs, and MERALCO would also not be able to pay the equivalent cost to First Gas.

For the LNG component of First Gas plants’ fuel cost, MERALCO plans to file the necessary documents with the ERC for confirmation of pass-through costs, emphasizing the importance of using LNG to ensure the continued operation of First Gas plants and the power supply to MERALCO at the least cost.