Meralco’s power sales rise 12%

Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said Monday net income rose 3 percent in the first quarter to P4.54 billion from P4.42 billion a year ago, as electricity sales jumped 12 percent amid the high temperature and robust consumption.

Meralco said core net income also went up 4 percent in the January-March period to P4.6 billion from P4.41 billion a year earlier.

Core net income is adjusted to exclude the effects of foreign exchange gains or losses, mark-to-market adjustments and other one-time, exceptional transactions.

“The sustained upward momentum of the Philippine economy, coupled with very warm temperatures throughout the quarter contributed to driving electricity usage to higher trajectory providing growth opportunities for electricity demand across all industry sectors,” Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.

Meralco declared  a special cash dividend of 10 percent out of the undeclared amount of the full year 2015 consolidated core net income equivalent to P1.68 per share. Record date will be on May 25, 2016 and payment is on June 17, 2016.

Meralco said the higher core net income in the first quarter was led by a record 12-percent increase in volume of electricity sold although at lower distribution rate, increased contribution of subsidiaries to non-electric revenues, higher yields from temporary investments and updated provisions for estimated real property taxes on certain utility plants which were resolved recently.

The company, however, reported lower revenues at P60.2 billion in the first quarter, down 4 percent from P62.6 billion in the first quarter last year due to lower generation, transmission and distribution charges.

Electric revenues represented 96 percent of P57.9 billion of total revenues.

Meralco said electricity demand rose, as the Philippines continued to post resilient microeconomic indicators, including low inflation, low interest rates, excess liquidity, growing overseas remittances and business process outsourcing growth and higher temperature.

“The coming electoral process is expected to further support this growth through the balance of the year,” Pangilinan said.

Meralco’s consolidated volumes of electricity reached 9,007 gigawatt-hours in the first quarter, with the residential segment growing 20 percent.

Commercial sales volume rose13 percent while industrial sales increased 5 percent.

Meralco said quarter-on-quarter peak demand grew 12 percent to 6,206 megawatts, registered on March 10, but this record level was surpassed by the April 14 peak demand of 6,619 MW.

Pangilinan said the recent yellow and red alert incidences on April 11, 14 and 15 and the participation of the interruptible load program to minimize  any power supply interruption, was a “cause for concern and a visible indicator that much more needs to be done in the power supply chain, from generation to transmission and distribution.”

Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the company’s power generation arm Meralco PowerGen Corp. was pursuing the development of 3,000 megawatts of power capacity that “will be built through a mix of brownfield and greenfield development and acquisition.”

Reyes, meanwhile, said for its distribution network, Meralco spent P1.2 billion in the first quarter for capital expenditures, pending approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Reyes said that while waiting for the ERC decision, the company was focused on capital expenditures which address the need for capacity upgrades “in order to avert power interruptions to our customers and maintain a robust distribution network.”

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