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Meralco insists higher September rates due to generation charges of power plants

Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Wednesday underscored that high power rates in the month of September could be attributed to the generation rates of power plants, which provide the power distribution utility's energy requirements.

"What significantly drove higher power costs this month were the generation rates of several power plants that supply Meralco’s energy requirements," Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga said in a statement sent to GMA News Online. 

"We also reiterate that these generation charges, being passed through in nature, just like transmission, taxes and other charges, do not accrue to distribution utilities (DU) like Meralco and thus no amount is retained by the DUs," he added.

Zaldarriaga's statement came after Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate urged Meralco to waive its power rate increase to ease the burden of consumers who are already "electrified" by the rising cost of living due to the pandemic.

Meralco announced that it would implement an upward adjustment of P0.1055 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in its electricity rates, bringing the overall household rate to P9.1091/kWh from August’s rate of P9.0036/kWh.

Zaldarriaga further mentioned that no less than the government noted that the power supply agreements, resulting from the 2019 Competitive Selection Process that was implemented beginning 2020, brought down the average generation charge to P4.38/kWh.

The Meralco official said this was 16% lower than 2019's average of P5.22/kWh, which was equivalent to consumer savings of around P8.4 billion.

Zarate claimed that as owner of the power generation companies, Meralco profits not only from an increase in power generation cost but also from all revenues, including the generation charges.

He lodged House Bill 9260 "to totally ban cross-ownership between generation companies and distribution utilities." — RSJ, GMA News