Lower Meralco charges seen in February

The power utility says demand for electricity is usually low in said month

DISREGARD BILL. Meralco tells its customers to disregard their December 2013 bill after the Supreme Court temporarily stopped its power rate hike. File photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Households in Luzon should expect lower electricity bills in February, when demand for power is traditionally low.

Power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said next month’s generation charge will most likely be lower than previous months.

The generation charge is the cost of power produced and sold by suppliers of Meralco. The charge is directly passed on to consumers.

“We are hoping on that… if ever it is lower than the P5.67 per kWh rate [this month],” said Meralco president Oscar Reyes.

Meralco raised its rates in December after it purchased more expensive power from the spot market amid tight supply. (INFOGRAPHIC: How WESM affects your electricity bills)

But the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the increase, forcing Meralco to peg its generation charge at previous level of P5.67 per kWh.

The generation charge shot up again in January, but Meralco pegged it again at P5.67 per kWh in deference to the TRO.

Meralco said it would come up with the computation for the February charge by next week.

If it is lower, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla appealed to Meralco to implement it despite the TRO.

Meralco’s controversial rate hike is the subject of separate investigations at Congress. (READ: Meralco: We didn’t mean to inflate power charges)

A case is also pending before the SC against the hike. (READ: SC includes more power firms in Meralco case– Rappler.com