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Meralco Customers Face Higher Bills This Month

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Meralco Customers Face Higher Bills This Month

Post  Justin_Romile on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:59 pm

Customers of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) stand to pay a whopping P1.83 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) more in their electricity bills this month due to higher generation costs.

The country’s largest power distributor, however, has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission to lower the increase by 44.46 centavos to P1.3852/kWh to ease the burden on its clients.

Meralco said it could not promptly pay its suppliers the cost of generation without immediately recovering it from its customers.

"Nevertheless, Meralco... realizes that the impact of the resulting high generation charges, if immediately recovered, would place great financial burden upon its customers," it pointed out.

In its petition, Meralco said that for February, it had incurred a generation cost worth P15.9 billion, which would translate into a generation charge of P6.76/kWh on its customers for the March 2010 billing.

To ease the effects of the abrupt increase in generation cost, Meralco proposed that instead of reflecting the actual generation charge of P 6.76/kWh in its March 2010 billing, it instead be allowed to enforce a lower generation charge of P6.3154/kWh.

The utility also wants the balance of the generation cost worth P1.046 billion spread over six months starting this April, representing a collection of around seven centavos/kWh.

Meralco clarified that the higher generation charge is not a Meralco increase. "The generation charge is a mechanism to reflect the cost of power from Meralco’s various suppliers and since it is a pass-through charge, Meralco does not earn from the generation charge," it pointed out.

The company traced the sharp and sudden increase in generation cost to high prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) following shortage in electricity supply. Several power plants, it said, were either out due to preventive or emergency maintenance, or with lower capacity because of the El Niño-induced drought.

"This was aggravated by the increase in demand due to the start of the summer season," it pointed out.

Meralco reminded its customers to use electricity wisely during the hot months of March to May.

“The hot summer months usually raise the consumption levels of our customers," Joe R. Zaldarriaga, Meralco external communications manager, said in the statement.

“Very simple tips such as using compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulb, doing your ironing at one time and opening refrigerators only when needed will, in one way or the other, help a household save electricity," he pointed out.

The Meralco official said that appliances will operate more efficiently and use less energy when they are in good working order.
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