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Meralco opens 2023 with January rate hike

MANILA, Philippines, January 11 ------ Amid painfully high inflation, consumers should expect their monthly power bills to turn pricey as Manila Electric Co. raised charges in January.

In a statement, the country’s largest power distributor said its overall power rate increased by P0.6232 per kilowatt hour this month. This is equivalent to an increase of P125 for residential customers that consume 200 kWh. The Pangilinan-led utility company explained why the company is charging customers more in January. First, the generation charge increased to P7.1291 from P6.7975 in December.

Independent power producers, such as First Gen Gas, upped their charges since they used expensive liquid fuel. This was because Malampaya’s natural gas supply failed to meet the producer’s needs. Spot market charges crept up by P0.6808 per kWh. Fraught supply conditions forced yellow alerts within the Luzon Grid in December, despite a dip in demand. Likewise, the increase came as Meralco’s regulator-mandated refund was completed. The refund was equivalent to P0.2761 per kWh for residential customers.

Meralco is still refunding residential customers, which totals P1.0579 per kWh. These two mandated refunds will end this year, by January and May. The Pangilinan-led power distributor entered into an emergency power supply agreement with GNPower Dinginin Ltd., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., in December 2022. The deal entails supply from the AboitizPower unit until January 25, covering 300 megawatts of lost baseload capacity from the suspended supply agreement between Meralco and South Premiere Power Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp.



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