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Power rates, oil prices up.

By Myrna Velasco

Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) announced that its power rates will go up by P0.0633 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the April billing, while oil companies announced a P0.25 per liter hike in gasoline products; P0.20 per liter for diesel; and P0.10 per liter for kerosene effective today, April 9.

The announcement of the upward electricity rate and oil price adjust-ments came as the Luzon grid was placed anew under yellow alert status due to the thinning power reserves.

One of the factors that led to the electricity rate hike was the "chal-lenged supply in the market," triggered by the "yellow alerts" last month.

Because of the yellow alerts, there had been more than P1.00 per kwh increase in settlement prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

But this was softened by the supply sourcing strategy of Meralco - wherein its other suppliers (contracted independent power producers and pow-er supply agreements with generation companies) had billed at lower rates in the March supply month.

For end-users in the 200-kilowatt-hour consumption threshold, the overall increase will be P13.00 and for those in the 300kwh usage band, it will be an aggregate increase of P19.00, according to the power utility company.

It was also emphasized that the gen-eration charge had gone up by P0.0349 per kwh to P5.6322 per kwh in the March supply month, compared to the previous billing cycle at P5.5973 per kwh.

"The generation charge increase is primarily due to higher charges from the WESM and the weakening of the peso against the US dollar," Meralco explained.

It added that "the P1.2815 per kwh increase in WESM charges this April was brought about by tighter supply conditions in the Luzon grid," with three instances of yellow alerts on March 5, 7, and 8.

Meanwhile, as of press time Monday, the first oil firms to advise on their price increases were Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and Seaoil which will be effective 6 a.m. Tuesday (April 9), while the rest of the industry players are anticipated to follow suit.

Monday's yellow alert situation in the power system was for a shorter window of two hours or from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., based on the notice sent by system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The system operator said there was still "insufficient operating reserves brought about by high system demand and forced outages" of some plants.

The generating facilities on unplanned outages were unit 2 of South Luzon Power Generation Corp. (SLPGC) plant; the Pagbilao-3 facility; unit 1 of South Luzon Ther-mal Energy Corp (SLTEC); and unit 2 of Malaya thermal plant. Two generating facilities were also on de-rated state - unit 2 of the Calaca coal-fired plant; and unit 1 of Malaya thermal plant.

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(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Apr 9, 2019
Words:482
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