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Meralco rates drop in Nov.

Power rates will go down this month, Manila Electric Co. said on Monday. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

TYPICAL HOUSEHOLDS can expect their monthly electricity bill to go down by P8 in November, after Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) announced a cut in overall rates due to a reduction in power generation charges.

In a statement, the distribution utility said power rates inched down by P0.0395 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to P8.5105 kWh, the third-lowest rate since September 2017.

“This month’s overall rate is also a net rate reduction of P1.35 per kWh since the start of the year,” Meralco said in a statement.

The decrease means households consuming 200 kWh, which account for the bulk of residential customers, will enjoy an P8 cut in their power bills. Households consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh and 500 kWh will see a reduction of P12, P16, and P20 respectively in their bills.

The generation charge fell by P0.0215 per kWh to P4.2018 per kWh this November. Meralco attributed the drop in generation charge to the reduced rates from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), and improved supply.

“The Luzon grid’s power supply situation improved in October, as demand decreased due to weather disturbances and there was less generation capacity on outage,” Meralco said.

The cost of power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) slipped by P0.0842 per kWh as Malampaya natural gas prices fell due to its quarterly repricing and the slight appreciation of the peso against the US dollar.

Charges from Power Supply Agreements (PSA) increased by P0.2118 per kWh, after the forced outage of the 414-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel combined cycle power plant in September.

Meralco said WESM, IPPs and PSA accounted for 12%, 35%,and 53% of its energy requirements, respectively.

Meanwhile, transmission charges, taxes and other charges went down by P0.0180 per kWh for residential customers.

The collection of the Universal Charge-Environmental Charge, which stood at P0.0025 per kWh, was still suspended, as previously directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Meralco’s distribution, supply and metering charges remained unchanged for 64 months, following registered reductions in July 2015.

Meralco said it does not earn from pass-through charges, such as the generation and transmission charges, while taxes and public policy charges are remitted to the government.

In compliance with the ERC directive, Meralco said it will not disconnect any accounts that are unable to pay their bills until Dec. 31, 2020. This applies to consumers with a monthly consumption of 200 kWh and below.

“For all other customers, consuming 201 kWh and up, Meralco will be complying with ERC’s advisory stating that a minimum of 30-day grace period will be given on all payments falling due within the period of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), without incurring interests, penalties, and other charges,” it said.

Metro Manila is currently under a general community quarantine until Nov. 30.

Unpaid balances that remain after the 30-day grace period should be made payable in three equal monthly installments without incurring interests, penalties and other charges, Meralco added.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Angelica Y. Yang

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