By Myrn M. Velasco
The overall tariff billed by Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to the wide base of its residential subscribers this January was down by P0.3418 per kilowatt hour (kwh) due to lower cost of supply procurement from power producers.
The average rate reflected in the bills for those in the 200-kilowatt hour consumption bracket then had been slashed to P9.8385 per kWh versus the previous month’s P10.1803 per kwh.
The generation charge component which accounts for the bulk of the pass-on rate, in particular, had been lower by P0.4184 per kWh to P4.9119 from the last billing cycle’s P5.3303 per kwh.
For the other charges in the billed rate, it was a reverse in the case of transmission charge that reflects the ancillary services procurement of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, as this had been up by P0.1210 per kWh in this billing month.
On the whole though, taxes as well as other charges still manifested overall cost decline of P0.0444 per kwh, according to the power utility firm.
Meralco said its supply sourcing from underwritten power supply agreements (PSAs) had been significantly down by as much as P1.2293 per kwh in December supply month. The PSAs had 40-percent share in the utility firm’s supply procurement pie.
Joe Zaldarriaga, the spokesperson of Meralco, has qualified that “the lower PSA charges were brought about by a reduction in capacity fees as a result of the annual reconciliation of outage allowances done at the end of each year.”
The consumer-favorable price trend for this billing period had also been reinforced by “the early completion of annual capacity payments for Sual unit 1, Ilijan, Pagbilao unit 1 and PEDC (Panay Energy Development Corp) – the power generators with supply agreements with Meralco.
Zaldarriaga explained that such redounded to savings “immediately passed on to consumers by way of lower electricity rates.”
The Meralco executive qualified though that “the capacity fees of the PSAs will return to normal levels in January,” and such will impact in the next billing month.
On the utility firm’s contracted independent power producers (IPPs), their billed rates had been higher by P0.0847 per kWh in the last supply month, and that was attributed mainly to the depreciation of the Philippine currency vis-à-vis the greenback. It has been emphasized that about 92-percent of the IPP contracted capacities are denominated in US dollars.
Procurement from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) also eased the final pass-on rate to consumers, although the cost reduction was hardly felt because it was at a very marginal P0.0165 per kwh.
The respective shares of supply from IPPs and WESM reflected in this billing month had been at 42-percent and 18-percent, according to Meralco.