Meralco seeks power rate hike starting July

By Neil Jerome C. Morales, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 08 2012 07:20 AM | Updated as of May 08 2012 06:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, wants higher distribution, metering and supply charges starting in July.

In a newspaper advertisement, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said Meralco has filed a petition for maximum average price (MAP) of P1.6333 per kilowatt-hour (kwh), up from the existing P1.6012 per kwh.

MAP is P1.1851 per kwh for distribution charge, P0.2727 per kwh for supply charge and P0.1748 per kwh for metering charge.

Under the proposed rates, a household with an average monthly consumption of 200 kwh and below will have to shoulder a 16.4-percent increase of MAP to P1.0278 per kwh from P1.1962 per kwh.

The rates, if approved, will take effect from July 1, 2012 up to June 30, 2013.

ERC said it has scheduled a pre-trial conference and hearing on May 24.

Households consuming 201 kwh-300 kwh per month will shoulder a 12-percent increase to P1.5535 per kwh from P1.3851 per kwh, while those with an average consumption of 301 kwh-400 kwh will have to bear a 9.8-percent increase to P1.8907 per kwh from P1.7223 per kwh.

“It is necessary that a provisional authority be issued authorizing it to implement the proposed rates pending hearing on the merit of the instant application,” Meralco said.

Meralco said the higher MAP under the Performance Based Rate mechanism will reflect the company’s performance incentive for 2011 of P0.0229 per kwh.

It will also carry P0.0319 per kwh of “under-recoveries, plowback of 50 percent of net income derived from related business undertakings and income from the sale of disposed assets during calendar year 2011,” Meralco said.

In March, the ERC approved as much as four centavos per kwh in additional charge for Meralco’s local franchise tax payments.

In the first quarter, Meralco added 40,000 new customers, bringing the total to a record 5.07 million as of end-March.

Meralco, which is indirectly controlled by Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. and partly owned by San Miguel Corp., posted a core net income growth of five percent to P3.42 billion in the first quarter.