Lower power rates may be expected this month due to lower generation and transmission charges, according to energy utility provider Manila Electric Co.

Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga, however, said they 'have yet to finalize the final figures,' and charges are 'indications.'

'For generations, we see the cost of natural gas suppliers decrease partly due to lower liquefied natural gas prices,' Zaldarriaga said.

Meanwhile, transmission charges may have lower costs following the order of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to suspend settlement in the reserve market.

This 'drove the significant increase in ancillary service charges in the March electricity rates,' Zaldarriaga said.

In an earlier report, the ERC ordered the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. and the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines Inc. to suspend settlement amounts in the reserve market.

The suspension of the implementation of Section 8 on the billing and settlement of the Price Determination Methodology for the reserve market in the wholesale electricity spot market covers the March billing period.

'We cannot ignore the fact that there are issues arising from the implementation of the system as currently designed that puts to question the resulting rates,' ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta said.

Last month, Meralco increased electricity rates by P0.0229 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), marking the third increase this year.

The adjustment brings the overall rate last month to P11.9397 per kWh from the previous month's P11.9168 per kWh, allowing residential consumers consuming 200 kWh to expect an increase of P5 in their electricity bill.

Final power rates this month will be announced by Meralco soon.

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