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Meralco generation fee at all-time high of P10.23/kWh this January

The generation charge of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) this month is at all-time high of P10.2279 per kilowatt hour (kWh), based on its final computation.

However, its 5.3 million customers will not feel the brunt of that rate hike yet this month because the utility firm decided to freeze its generation charge at P5.67 per kWh, the level which was anchored on the temporary restraining order (TRO) of the Supreme Court on its December rate hike of P4.15 per kWh.

Given the rate freeze, P4.56 per kWh of January generation charge plus taxes will be deferred again for pass-on to Meralco customers.

The December generation charge had deferred pass-on of P3.44 per kWh, and including all the other rate components, it summed up to P4.15 per kWh. For the two months, the running total will be P8.71 per kWh.

It was gathered that Meralco has been planning to seek another round of payment deferment to its power generator-suppliers, but its management has yet to firm up plans on this.

No computation was given yet as to how much will this cost the power generators. In December, the total unpaid amount to them, including that of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, had been placed at P7.621 billion.

Meralco assistant vice president Lawrence S. Fernandez said “for the January billing, Meralco will bill the generation charge of P5.67 per kWh in deference to the SC TRO.”

He noted, however, that the actual billing for this month should have been at P10.23 per kWh, which infers then that the portion which may not be passed on now may be recovered once the high court’s restraining order is lifted.

“The reason for the increase is still the Malampaya shutdown which crossed two billing periods coupled with the scheduled, extended and forced outages of generation plants in December,” Fernandez said.

The Meralco executive emphasized that the company “will address the uncollected pass-through generation charge for both December and January billings as may be directed by the SC and/or ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission).”

The rate hike of Meralco in December was stopped by the country’s high court. And while some billings have already been released prior to the SC ruling, the utility firm noted that it will refund payments already made by its customers.