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Meralco makes P17.2 billion in 2013

Amid the controversies that technically thumped its social precept as a servicing power utility, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) managed to top its targeted core income at P17.2 billion last year, relatively flat from P17 billion in 2012.

Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said the company’s continued rosy financial performance was propelled by improving sales growth at 4.0.-percent, driven mainly by expanding customer count in the residential segment

“Our focus continued to be on ensuring that we provide positive customer service and distribution system performance,” he said.

The company’s energy sales had gone up by 1,313 gigawatt hours (GWh) to 34,084GWh in 2013 from the previous year’s  32,771 GWh.

The commercial segment, Reyes said, was also on uptrend with 4.3-percent growth given the aggressive expansion logged by the real estate sector, business process outsourcing (BPO) spaces and condominiums, among others.

The industrial segment, had not grown as much, with a very lean expansion of 0.8-percent.

Meanwhile, Meralco chief finance officer Betty Siy-Yap stressed that the company has deferred payments of P18.995 billion due to billings affected during the November-December supply month; partly due to the temporary restraining order (TRO) of the Supreme Court. On parallel, this  resulted in the company’s receivables of P16.226 billion on deferred billings to customers as referenced on prices at that time.

She said this year’s core income is  “relatively flat” in terms of year-on-year comparison because there had been no “one-off gains” integrated on its financial performance, such as the P780 million contribution of its Rockwell Land equity sale last year.

For Meralco’s affiliate Clark Energy Development Corporation (CEDC), Reyes indicated there had been substantial sales growth of 26.7-percent, with new major large accounts coming into its fold.

This year, the company is allotting P14 billion capital expenditures (capex), with the bulk of P13 billion to be funneled to its distribution portfolio; while the other P1.0 billion to other businesses.

For its power generation business, Meralco PowerGen senior vice president and general manager Angelito U. Lantin noted that development phases will continue for their ventures locally as well as in Singapore and Nigeria.

For the 460-megawatt expansion of the Quezon Power Plant in which the company cornered the majority stake of 51-percent, the award of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is anticipated by the third quarter of this year.

He noted that turnkey contract proposals were already received from consortia of Japanese and Korean firms.

If the targeted implementation timeframe will not be marred by delays, Lantin said the expanded Quezon Power plant will likely hit commercial operation around 2017.

The company has also moved notches further on its rollout of prepaid retail electricity services, which according to company senior vice president Alfredfo S. Panlilio, the uptake has been doing well with more than 1,000 applications already lodged for their approval.