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ERC approves Meralco power rate hike in three tranches

The impending electricity rate increase by Manila Electric Co. for this month, which reflects a record hike in the history of the power utility, will be charged against the bills of customers in three tranches as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Monday.
"Nabigyan ng pahintulot ang Meralco na ipatupad ang mungkahi nito na ang pagtaas ng presyo ng kuryente ngayon Disyembre ay hatiin sa tatlong buwan, sa Disyembre, Pebrero at Marso," ERC Executive Director Francis Saturnino C. Juan told GMA News Online.
The record rate increase of P4.16 per kilowatt hour (kWh) includes billing components other than and generation charge which Meralco pays its power suppliers.   
Thus, the generation charge will increase by P2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in December, P1 per kWh in February 2014 and P0.44 per kWh in March 2014, Juan said.
Including other charges like transmission charges, taxes and other components, the electricity rate will jump by P2.41 per kWh in December, P1.21 per kWh in February and P0.54 in March, he added.
This means customers consuming 200 kWh will see their December billing statement increase by P482 while those consuming 300 kWh by P723. 
Juan noted the staggered payment skipped the month of January because some power plants are still out in December and most of the charges in the December billing consists of the consumption for November.
"Inaasahang mataas pa din ang power rates dahil may outage pa sa ilang mga power plants ngayon buwan, kasama na dito ang Malampaya," he said.

Last week, Department of Energy Director Mylene Capongcol told GMA News Online the higher electricity rates this month can be attributed to a one-month preventive maintenance of Malampaya from Nov. 11 to Dec. 10.
Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga also told GMA News Online last week the supply condition which remains tight was also due to the forced outage of other major power plants in Luzon, prompting the distribution utility to source more electricity from Wholesale Electricity Spot Market or WESM, which sells power at higher rates. – VS/ELR, GMA News