Customers of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) can expect financial relief on their electric bills next month, as this is expected to be on downtrend, according to company Vice President and Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga.
“Based on initial projections, there is a strong likelihood that power rates for March 2021 will go down,” he stressed, while emphasizing that this is already the second series this year that its power tariffs will be on decline.
He qualified that billings from suppliers have yet to be fully furnished to the utility firm, but their anticipation is a reduction when they will announce rate adjustment in the coming days.
“This projected decrease in power rates will continue the downward trend in the cost of electricity, with overall rates having decreased by more than P1.00 per kWh since the start of 2020,” the Meralco executive emphasized.
Zaldarriaga similarly noted that the March bills to be dispatched to customers will include the P0.1528 per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate cute that Meralco will implement based on the interim decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission on its P13.885 billion refund application.
That pay-back to Meralco customers fundamentally accounts for the true-up or adjustments in the actual weighted average tariff (AWAT) that it passed on from July 15 to November 2020 – and that’s anchored on its approved performance-based ratesetting (PBR) methodology.
The refund process will be for 24 months; and the rate reduction will depend on the classification of customers. For residential and General Service A customers, in particular, the pay-back they can expect in their bills will be P0.2761 per kWh.
Meralco also apprised customers that its refund “will be reflected as a separate line item in the bills” as ordered by the regulator of the power industry.
Yet while customers may enjoy rate cut this month, the narrative in the coming summer period may turn to be a different one, especially if power supply will tighten which could then trigger spikes in prices.
Summer months are often associated with radical upswings in demand because of scorching weather that will then prompt the use of more cooling systems at homes and many establishments.
It is likewise anticipated that the government-led Covid-19 inoculation program may start by March, hence, this could exacerbate pressure on power supply because there are vaccines that will be needing ultra-low temperatures for their storage and handling.