Meralco rates to increase this April

Robie de Guzman   •   April 8, 2019   •   2468

MANILA, Philippines – Power consumers would have to pay more for their April electricity bills as the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has announced an increase in its rates by P0.063 per kilowatt-hour (kwh).

This translates to an additional P12.60 for a household that consumes 200 kwh a month and as much as P31.50 for those using 500 kwh per month.

Meralco attributed it primarily to higher charges in the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM); weakening peso against dollar exchange; and higher generation charges.

Although the rate hike is considered minimal, the utility company still urges households to conserve energy by unplugging unused gadgets and to use their appliances efficiently.

The power rate hike announcement comes amid a series of yellow alert status on supply in the Luzon grid.

Yellow alert is the second highest alert being declared by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) when power supply thins due to increased demand.

On Monday (April 8), the NGCP has placed Luzon grid on yellow alert from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the sixth day since Monday last week.

The grid’s current available capacity is only 11,267 megawatts (MW) compared to the peak demand of 10,438MW.

The Department of Energy said upticks in prices in the spot market have been observed last week as a result of the thinning of Luzon power supply.

Meralco has indicated that the yellow alert will have an impact on its overall rates for May but it has yet to determine the exact amount.

“So the whole week last week, we have five days of yellow alert and then today we have another yellow alert. So, that will affect spot market prices once more which may affect generation charge,” said Meralco Utilities and Economics Head, Larry Fernandez.

The power distributor also assured its interruptible load program is ready in case the Luzon grid reserves further decline. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mon Jocson)

Singil sa kuryente ng Meralco, tataas ngayong Mayo

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Magpapatupad ng panibagong dagdag sa singil sa kuryente ang Manila Electric Company (Meralco) para sa bill ngayong Mayo.

Batay sa anunsiyo ngayong Biyernes, sinabi ng Meralco na tataas ng P0.185 kada kilowatt hour (kWh) ang singil dahil natapos na ang refund sa over recovered charges.

Bukod pa anila ito sa bahagyang pagtaas sa generation charge.

Ang dagdag singil ay katumbas ng P37 para sa residential consumers na kumukonsumo ng 200 kWh kada buwan, P55 para sa 300 kWh, P73 para sa 400 kWh, at P90 para sa 500 kWh ang buwanang konsumo.

Ito na ang ikalawang sunod na buwan na nagpatupad ng dagdag-singil ang power distributor.

Noong buwan ng Abril ay tumaas din ang singil ng Meralco dahil sa pagtaas ng generation charge.

DOE, ERC urged to probe unplanned outages in some Luzon power plants

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to look into the reported unplanned outages of some power plants in Luzon that allegedly triggered a spike in consumers’ electricity bills.

Citing data from the Independent Energy Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), Gatchalian said that for the March 2021 billing period, there were 1,580 megawatts (MW) non-coincidental unplanned outages or 61.3% of the total outages.

For the April 2021 billing period but only until April 18, there were 1,428 MW non-coincidental unplanned outages or 62.8% of the total outages, he added.

“Dapat gumalaw dito ang ERC dahil noong November 2020 last year, naglabas sila ng isang polisiya na lahat ng planta ay dapat makapag-deliver batay sa tinatawag na reliability index,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Kapag bumagsak sila doon sa polisiya ng ERC at hindi nila ma-justify kung bakit pumalya yung planta, magmumulta sila,” he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, also urged the DOE to address any logistical issues being faced y some power producers to prevent similar occurences in the coming weeks as the government plans to intensify its COVID-19 vaccination between May and June.

“Hindi dapat tayo magkaroon ng brownouts dahil padating pa ang mga bakuna natin by the end of this month, May, or June at maseselan itong mga vaccines. May iba na kailangan ng almost subzero freezing temperature o mga freezer na kaya ang negative 20 degrees. Kaya kung may brownout tayo, saan natin ilalagay ang mga bakuna natin? Malaking dagok ‘yan sa atin at maaantala ‘yung vaccination process natin,” he said.

The DOE should also address problems in the delivery of spare parts needed by power plants to prevent simultaneous outages, Gatchalian said.

“Dapat ring imbestigahan ng DOE ang ilang alegasyon tungkol sa logistics. Dahil nga pandemya ngayon, hindi dumarating yung mga spare parts, kaya nagkaka-problema sa logistics. Dapat magawan agad ito ng aksyon para hindi sabay-sabay na bumagsak ang mga planta,” he said.

“Dapat gawin ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng makakaya para maiwasan ang brownout. Kaya ang solusyon dito at all cost – dapat yung mga planta huwag bumagsak, huwag silang mag outage.” he added.

PH Energy dep’t. vows to protect petroleum resources in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) vowed to take necessary steps to assert the Philippines’ rights over petroleum and other resources in the West Philippine Sea should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities within the area.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said in his public address on Monday that he would send the country’s warships to the West Philippine Sea once the country starts drilling for oil and other resources in the seabed of the region.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) stands firmly behind any decision and action of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte regarding the assertion of the exclusive licensing authority of the Philippines over petroleum and other resources in the seabed and subsoil of the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Cusi said the DOE supports the President’s statements regarding the defense of the resources of the Philippine seabed and subsoil as this s in accordance with the Philippine laws.

“Under our laws, only the Philippine government, through the DOE, may issue licenses to drill in Philippine land territory, including its islands, internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf,” he said.

“Should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities inside the Philippine petroleum jurisdiction, the DOE shall take the necessary steps to protect our licensees and preserve our resources,” he added.

“It shall defer to the sole prerogative of the President regarding any security option. It shall also conform to any decision that the Department of Foreign Affairs might take regarding the ongoing informal negotiations on oil and gas cooperation with China.”

Tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea surfaced anew due to the lingering presence of Chinese vessels in waters within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Department of National Defense has called for the immediate removal of these vessels while the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a series of diplomatic protests over the issue.

“Meanwhile, the DOE continues to develop the uncontested Philippine EEZ and continental shelf through the resumption of petroleum operations by our licensees and the award of new petroleum areas,” the department said.

“The Philippines remains in business, COVID-19 and China, notwithstanding,” it added.

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