By Myrna M. Velasco
It will be scornful and financially punishing for Filipino consumers this love month as they will have to suffer the brunt of a P1.08-per-kilowatt hour (kWh) hike in their electric bills in the February billing cycle.
As announced by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the spikes in power bills this month had been “mainly due to the P0.85 per kWh pass-through generation charge.”
For households in the average 200-kWh consumption threshold, they were supposed to be saddled with significant increase of P216 in their electric bills, although it was already cautioned that “this will not be implemented in full” this month.
The utility firm indicated that the pass-on of the rate hike shall not be done one-time and they will be filing a petition with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for a possible staggered pass-on of the increased generation charge.
“We are looking for ways to mitigate the impact on consumers cognizant of the fact that P1.08 per kWh will be a very significant rate hike,” Meralco Spokersperson Joe Zandarriaga said.
He added that they are opting for a “relief to consumers” by not enforcing a one-time, big-time power rate uptick, given current developments also on series of price hikes of basic commodities that essentially pulled up inflation to the level of 4.0-percent.
ERC Spokesperson Floresinda B. Digal said they will have to wait for any filing or application that Meralco will lodge and the Commission will just act accordingly.
Meralco emphasized that it is still fleshing out options as to how it will divide up the cost pass-on so it will not make as much dent on consumers’ pockets once reflected in the bills.
The utility firm further advised the public that they shall “await the official announcement on the final rate adjustment for February, and how the remainder of the increase can be implemented.”
Several rate components that had been levied with taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act contributed partly to this billing cycle’s rate hike.
These include the reinstatement of 12-percent value added tax (VAT) in the wheeling charge of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and will further be aggravated by taxes on fuel in the coming billing months.
Tags: billing cycle, electric bills, Energy Regulatory Commission, Floresinda B. Digal, Manila Electric Company, Meralco announces P1.08/kWh hike in electricity this month, Meralco Spokersperson Joe Zandarriaga, rate hike