Meralco income to top P17B in 2013
Unperturbed by a Supreme Court ruling on its rate hike, power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) announced to media that its core net income for year 2013 will likely surpass its target of P17 billion, roughly P1.0 billion higher from last year’s P16.265 billion.
“We’re on track to meet guidance (for a net income) of P17 billion or higher,” Meralco President Oscar S. Reyes has told reporters.
He explained that the restraining order on its rate hike will not have direct hit on the company’s bottom line because of the revenue-neutral and pass-through nature of its frozen generation charge – or the portion it collects from customers to pay its power suppliers.
But latter developments on its deferred payments to power generators had thrown worrying prospects for Meralco, because if the request will be declined and be escalated to market disputes, it might be forced to advance the cost to its power suppliers.
Past the rosier financial picture they have been hankering for this year, Reyes admitted that 2014 might slow down sales volume trajectories for the utility firm.
“We’ve seen demand during the last quarter rather soft, so I think we have to see what the sales trajectory will be for 2014. Let’s put it this way, we’re looking at a growth of 3.0-percent. This full year, we will just be slightly above 3.0-percent,” he said.
Reyes added “I think we will have to revisit the numbers. We have to look at forecast of — number one demand, and number two supply.”
Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla echoed concern on Meralco’s deferred payments to suppliers, explaining that he was prompted to bring the parties together to sort out settlement matters on the utility firm’s supply procurement, primarily those from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
From the Department of Energy’s (DOE) vantage point, he stressed that he wants to avert a situation wherein disruption of services will occur and the consumers will become collateral damage to dreaded brownouts.
Petilla said if the parties cannot come up with an acceptable compromise that will go according to sustaining the viability of their respective operations, he had given them unsolicited advice to elevate their concern to a body which has now hold on the Meralco case, primarily the high court.
“If they cannot settle among themselves, then they can try to appeal to SC rather than to the DOE as there is really nothing we can do to stop the generators from collecting,” the energy chief has emphasized.
He explained that such had been the context of his statement on his supposed ‘legal advice’ to Meralco to appeal the ultimate court’s restraining order.
“If I don’t come in to settle and avert service disruption, the who would?,” Petilla quipped, adding that he was just stepping in to let parties hammer out solutions over the industry’s lingering predicaments.