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Electricity bills going up next month

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino consumers should brace themselves for higher electricity bills next month due to additional ancillary services (AS) costs to be remitted to power generators.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) said it would bill distribution utilities (DUs) like Manila Electric Co. and electric cooperatives more than 10 centavos per kilowatt-hour as a result of the partial lifting of suspension on the payments of transactions in the reserve market.

Earlier this week, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) allowed power generators to recover 30 percent of the transactions made in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)’s reserve market during the March billing month.

The regulator estimated the partial payments to amount to P1.723 billion.

The additional cost that would be passed on to consumers would depend on the DUs’ final computations, the NGCP emphasized.

The additional AS costs would be reflected in consumers’ May billing period, which would be issued next month.

“We do not bill consumers. The DUs will still translate [the amount that we will bill them],” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said in a press briefing yesterday.

NGCP noted that AS are pass-through charges and are remitted directly to power generation companies.

The ERC earlier explained that the partial lifting of the suspension on settlement amounts in the WESM’s reserve market was ”to ensure continuous operations of power generators providing reserves” in the power system.

Moreover, Luzon could suffer more frequent electricity supply woes in the future as two sites under the NGCP’s Tuy-Dasmariñas 23-/500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line project have been ordered to be relocated by the Dasmariñas Regional Trial Court.

With the decision in place, the NGCP said it would incur additional costs with the relocation of the two sites, as they would have to redo everything from scratch — from feasibility study of the areas to the manufacturing of new tower parts and construction.

The value of the additional costs is still being evaluated by the NGCP.

The Tuy-Dasmariñas 230kV transmission line project has an approved cost of P3.05 billion while the Tuy 500kV substation