Electricity concessionaire Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said that power rates for the month of June will be lowered due to the staggered collection of generation costs from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

This is a turnaround from the firm's previous announcement of a rate hike, following a June 13 order from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). The commission ordered all distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in the country to stagger the collection of charges covering WESM purchases in the May supply month to four equal monthly installments starting this billing month until September 2024.

'We ask for the understanding of our customers over the delayed bills as we implement the newly issued order of the ERC. Rest assured that Meralco will implement adjusted due dates to give our customers enough time to pay their bills,' Meralco Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications Joe Zaldarriaga said.

Given this announcement, there will be a P1.9623 per kiloWatt-hour (kWh) decrease in power rates in June instead of an increase of P0.6436 per kWh.

This lowers the total rate for an average household to P9.4516 per kWh, down from last month's P11.4139 per kWh.

According to Meralco, the adjustment would lead to a decrease of P392 for consumers consuming 200 kWh.

However, despite the announced decrease due to the ERC order, Meralco said that a higher generation charge is expected in the next three months.

"We would like to advise this early that our customers can expect generation charge to increase in succeeding months as we collect the deferred amounts on staggered basis as result of the recent developments," Zaldarriaga said.

"With these already deferred costs, and the recent order of the ERC to also stagger the collection of WESM charges, around P0.77 per kWh will be added every month to the generation charge in the July to September bills," he added.

Meralco, Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd., San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co., and South Premiere Power Corporation had earlier postponed P500 million in generation costs to soften the impact of increased pass-through charges on Meralco's customers.

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