The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) expects energy sales to grow faster in the second half on the back of sustained high demand from residential and commercial segments and a potential recovery in the industrial sector.

Meralco senior vice president and chief revenue officer Ferdinand Geluz said the power distributor is projecting a close to five percent growth in energy sales volume in the second semester, higher than the three percent growth recorded in the first half.

'This is mainly driven by residential and commercial sectors,' Geluz said.

'And we sort of had some talk with the president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) and he's confident that semiconductor might have a rebound toward the latter part of the year,' he said.

For the full year, Meralco is looking at a four percent growth in energy sales.

Higher demand from residential and commercial segments pushed the company's energy sales volumes to an all-time high of 24,792 gigawatt hours (GWh) in the first half, up three percent year-on-year.

Meralco said higher temperatures and humidity during the dry season fueled the increase in demand for electricity from the residential segment during the period, while the continuing recovery and growth in the economy were drivers of its commercial segment sales.

With the resumption of face-to-face engagements, such as concerts, conventions, and business gatherings, Meralco said demand from leisure and entertainment, hotels, retail, and restaurant sectors continued to improve during the first half, pushing the commercial segment's sales volume up by 10 percent to 9,162 GWh.

Meralco said the shift in academic calendar also amplified demand of educational institutions, as schools consumed more electricity to battle the summer heat.

Residential sales volume, on the other hand, recovered in the second quarter following a slight decline in the first quarter to close the first half with a one percent year-on-year improvement at 8,629 GWh, as households increased their usage of cooling appliances with the warm and dry season commencing in mid-March.

The industrial segment, however, continued to be battered by the impact of economic headwinds as sales declined by two percent to 6,928 GWh during the first half.

Meralco said semiconductors, plastics, cement, and steel posted lower production and demand due to plant shutdowns, excess supply, and stiff competition from overseas.

'In terms of quarter, we actually grew by just two percent in the first quarter, but we recovered somehow in the second quarter with around five-percent increase,' Geluz said.

'Our first half year-to-date sales, when benchmarked with 2019 numbers are actually nine percent higher, where residential is actually 21 percent percent higher versus 2019, and commercial two percent higher, and industrial four percent higher. So these actually show the shift in terms of consumer behavior where our residential is actually some sort of increasing demand for their electricity,' he said.

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