Rising power demand signals economic recovery – Meralco

Published October 12, 2020, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

 For the first time this year, electricity demand in September breached comparative consumption in the same month in 2019, and this was gauged by Manila Electric Company (Meralco) as a signal that the Philippine economy is now ratcheting up on its recovery pace.


According to the utility firm, power demand in September was at a record 10,570 megawatts, higher by 178 megawatts versus 10,392MW in September last year. Last month’s demand also surpassed August 2020 figure which was logged at 10,422 megawatts.

“Last September, similar to what happened in the Luzon grid, demand increased in the Meralco area — that for the first time, it exceeded 2019 or year-ago level,” Meralco Vice President Lawrence S. Fernandez said.

He qualified that one major reason for that was “the economy picking up after the lifting of the MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) last August. It appears that businesses started recovering in September.”

The other factor that had driven up electricity usage was the comparatively higher temperatures last month compared to September last year.

 “We also found out that September 2020 was much warmer than September 2019, it was almost a degree Celsius warmer last month compared to a year ago,” Fernandez said.

 On the remaining months of the year, the power firm indicated that they are still closely monitoring trends, especially on how the economy will further gain traction as the Christmas season approaches.

  “We are hoping that this will continue especially the recovery of businesses for the rest of the year,” the Meralco executive stressed.

   He pointed out that the utility firm has been keeping a close watch on developments, especially on the government’s handling of the economy’s re-opening amid the lingering strike of the coronavirus pandemic.

  “We still have to monitor it closely, but we should be guided by the issuances of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) on this; if businesses will be allowed to operate 100-percent,” Fernandez pointed out.

 He noted though that in the first days of October, there had been slight downtrend in demand because of the cloudy weather that then precipitated slightly cooler temperatures.

   And given the shattering affliction of the pandemic, Fernandez emphasized that for the rest of the year, overall consumption within the franchise area of Meralco is still seen lower vis-à-vis last year’s level.

 “We still have not updated our full-year projection, we are still expecting by the end of 2020 that kilowatt-hour consumption will be down at 9-10% versus 2019,” he expounded.