Why Meralco is raising power rates this month

Posted at Dec 03 2013 10:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 04 2013 06:34 PM

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MANILA, Philippines – Power utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) on Tuesday said the expected big increase in power rates this month is due to the maintenance shutdown of Malampaya natural gas facility as well as the scheduled or forced shutdown of other power plants.

“Ang rason dito ay ang dati na naming sinabi na magkakaroon ng maintenance schedule itong Malampaya facility, which was moved from November 9-December 8 to November 11 to December 10. So ang nangyari noong ito ay mag-undergo ng maintenance schedule, ‘yung dalawang malalaking planta—Sta. Rita at Ilihan—ay gumamit ng liquid fuel na mas mahal sa natural gas. Since ‘yan ang nangyari, automatically magkakaroon ng impact ‘yan sa cost ng generation,” Joe Zaldarriaga, head of Meralco’s corporate communications, told dzMM.

“Nasabay pa ang scheduled outage ng ilang mga planta at may ibang mga planta na nag-forced outage. Given these two situations, ang impact sa rates talagang ‘yung probability ay higher generation costs ang magiging sitwasyon natin,” he added.

Zaldarriaga said Meralco has yet to determine the exact amount of increase in generation charge, noting that the P2 per kilowatt hour up to P2.50 per kilowatt hour increase is just a cost estimate.

“Maaari pang magbago ‘yan, pwedeng higher, hindi ko pa masabi sa ngayon ang definite figure kasi once we have the figure then ipapaalam natin,” he said.

Zaldarriaga said rates are expected to go down by February when the Malampaya plant and other power plants resume operations.

“By February, we’re already expecting na once matapos itong mga conditions na ito ay we’re looking at lower rates, so kumbaga temporary ito,” he said.