MERALCO expecting very slight movement in December bill

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Customers of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) may be heaving a sigh of relief over their December bills, as initial forecasts suggest a “flattish rate” or a very slight movement in the cost of the overall tariff.

The power giant had said back in November that the December rate may go up because of the recent maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas platform.

MERALCO Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga said that the company will announce rate adjustments next week for this month’s billing cycle, as it is still awaiting final billings from all of its power suppliers.

Other than the Malampaya shutdown, the recent strong typhoons that have pummelled Luzon and the Energy Regulatory Commission’s suspension of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in the wake of Typhoon Ulysses serve as factors behind the anticipated price movement.

Based on data, WESM prices surged to Php20 to Php22 per kilowatt hour (kWh) on October 27 and 28 due to the reported forced outages in power generating facilities. The pass-on rate for the December billing covers the October 26-November 25 period.

Zaldarriaga stressed that the effect of more plant outages appears to be offset by a decrease in demand, which explains why generation costs appear to be stable.

MERALCO further noted that the weather disturbances pulled down demand in the Luzon Grid last month. Peak demand in November went down to 9,886 megawatts (MW) from 10,344MW in October.

The company emphasized that its overall tariff still registered a net decrease of Php1.35/kWh; and it is by far expecting electricity rates this year significantly lower than last year, regardless of the December rate adjustment.

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