By Myrna M. Velasco
Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is expecting “better than last year” earnings in the first half compared to the P11.97 billion it logged for the same period last year.
Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters that the company’s overall income trajectory will be an improvement from year ago, and this had been primarily propped by increased energy sales within the period.
“Meralco’s first half is better than last year…it’s helped by the volume,” he said, referring to the hike in the utility firm’s energy sales from January to June this year.
As demand had been coming from a higher base in 2018, Pangilinan indicated that the final outcome was not a double digit, but “better than historic average.”
It has to be noted that this year’s summer months kicked off fairly early – that the scorching temperatures had actually triggered several instances of yellow and red alert conditions in the Luzon grid within the April, May to June stretch.
For the whole year, Pangilinan noted that Meralco is in for more favorable financial results with the commercial operation date (COD) around September this year of the 500-megawatt San Buenaventura coal-fired power project in Quezon province, its joint venture with the EGCO Group of Thailand.
“It (the San Buenaventura plant) is pumping out energy already. It started sometime June for small volume; but in July it’s ramping up. It adds 485MW to the grid when it starts commercial operations,” he stressed.
With anticipated sales from the San Buenaventura plant, Meralco’s top and bottom lines will prospectively be shored up starting this year; but the full impact will be felt in the company’s financial performance next year.
In a related development, the company also seemed to be on a “messianic pathway” corresponding to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for increased renewable energy investments in meeting the country’s present and future electricity needs.