Meralco says electricity rates may go up again in July

·2 min read
One thousand Philippine peso banknotes on a Meralco paper electricity bill. (Photo: Getty Images)
One thousand Philippine peso banknotes on a Meralco paper electricity bill. (Photo: Getty Images)

Electricity prices of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) may rise again for the second straight month following the recent peso depreciation and high prices in the spot market.

According to Lawrence Fernandez, vice president of Meralco, the high deprecation of the peso against the United States dollar and the increased prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which is governed by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), might affect the already high electricity rates.

“On the latter, the secondary price cap was implemented for 16 of the 31 days in the June supply month, indicating sustained high WESM prices. The situation was aggravated by the Red and Yellow Alerts recently experienced by the Luzon Grid,” Fernandez said.

He said the reduced use by First Gas plants of more expensive alternative fuel might be the only factor that could partly offset the higher prices at the WESM and the peso depreciation.

In June, fuel charges from First Gas power plants went up by 8% with the increased usage of more expensive liquid fuel amid the restriction on Malampaya gas supply.

Last month, Meralco’s overall rate went up by P0.3982 per kWh to P10.4612 per kWh from P10.0630 per kWh in May.

There has been a push to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to ease the country's energy crists. but scientists debunk this claim, saying the current energy crisis is a result of privatization and deregulation of the country’s energy facilities, which led to increased electricity costs and unstable power supply.

During the recent elections, a candidate called for the review the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 due to the current high electricity rates in the country. The EPIRA, or Republic Act No. 9136, has allowed private ownership in the electric power industry.

“Residential power rates have risen by 68% from P5.76 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2001 to P9.68 in 2015.”According to economic research think-tank IBON.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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