THE Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) power generation business and higher electricity sales pushed its first quarter numbers higher this year.
During the company’s presentation of its January to March financial and operating results, officials reported a 10-percent increase in consolidated core net income (CCNI) to P5.624 billion, from P5.1 billion in the same quarter last year.
Reported net income also increased to P5.564 billion, up 28 percent from P4.3 billion, as the company benefitted from a lower income tax under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.
Revenues, meanwhile, went up by 33 percent to P85.9 billion from P64.7 billion, as electricity revenues grew similarly to P83.3 billion from P62.5 billion, mainly due to higher pass-through charges on account of the unprecedented increase in global fuel prices.
Energy sales volumes in the first quarter rose to 11,069 gigawatt hours (GWh) from 10,473 GWh in the same three months last year following the easing of pandemic-related restrictions and higher temperatures.
Meralco peak demand for the first quarter stood at 7,816 MW, 10 percent higher than the previous year. It explained that the continuing hybrid work arrangements and home-based learning set-up, as well as the relatively warmer temperatures pushed residential sales volume to grow 5 percent to 3,808 GWh from 3,616 GWh.
Commercial sales volumes also rose to 3,781 GWh from 3,560 GWh while industrial sales volumes went up to 3,443 GWh from 3,261 GWh.
At end-March this year, Meralco customers grew to 7.46 million. Meralco warned its customers that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, along with the continuing effects of the pandemic, that has affected fuel prices in particular, may have a significant impact on electricity consumption moving forward.
“The significant rise in fuel prices, as well as the persisting supply restrictions of the Malampaya natural gas field continue to pose risks to Meralco electricity rates,” said Meralco President Ray Espinosa.
“We are proactive in implementing mitigating measures, including supply augmentation efforts through CSP [Competitive Selection Process] and coordination with our suppliers, to cushion the impact to our customers, while we continue to deliver stable, reliable, and quality electricity service to our customers.”
Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement that the company remains cautious about the impact of geo-political developments.
“We are working with industry players, including the government, regulators, and our suppliers, to agree on ways to mitigate the adverse impact of these challenging circumstances to our customers.
The challenges notwithstanding, we remain positive that we shall be able to sustain Meralco’s operational and financial performance in the course of the year, as we bank on the further reopening of the economy, and traverse the road towards post-pandemic recovery,” he said.
In the power generation business, Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen) contributed P1.2 billion to Meralco’s earnings, mainly on account of the contribution of Singapore-based PacificLight Power Pte. Ltd. (PLP). As of end-March, MGen had a total power generation capacity of 2,251 MW.
PLP booked P3.1 billion CCNI due to the 6-percent increase in demand and higher spot prices. PLP’s 800 MW liquefied natural gas facility in Jurong Island, Singapore delivered a total of 1,324 GWh of energy in the quarter. MGen currently has combined direct and indirect interest of 58 percent in PLP.