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Meralco Q1 power sales rise 7% on strong economic growth

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Meralco

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) estimates that electricity sales increased by around 7% in the first quarter as its consumer segments recorded growth during the period, the head of the distribution utility said.

“In terms of sales, [growth was] maybe . . . around 7% higher [year on year],” Oscar S. Reyes, Meralco president and chief executive officer, told reporters in a chance interview on the sidelines of Manila Water Co., Inc.’s annual shareholder meeting in Makati City on Monday.

Mr. Reyes, who was elected Manila Water independent director, did not disclose the sales figure, but Meralco in the first quarter of 2017 reported sales volume from its core distribution business at 9,317 gigawatt-hours.

Electricity revenue, which accounted for 97% of total revenue a year earlier, grew by 12% mainly because of the growth in volume of energy sold, Meralco previously said.

Asked about the sales growth drivers in the first three months of 2018, Mr. Reyes said: “Number one is increase in our customer base.”

“Second is, improvement in general economic conditions, which have supported growth in consumption,” he said.

In the first quarter of 2017, Meralco reported 4% growth in its customer count to more than 6.1 million.

“Third, you’ve got growth across all sectors — residential, commercial and industrial,” Mr. Reyes said. “So good indications of the growth of the economy.”

He said there was no pattern as to which quarter Meralco records the biggest sales growth, adding that the weather is a big factor in the sales outcome in a given period.

“Weather affects (sales). Number two, some special events affect it,” he said.

Mr. Reyes also gave his comment on a letter from Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi asking why the distribution utility has not yet energized Isla Verde in Batangas province, which is in its franchise area.

“We have a program to electrify. However, I think there were some delays in the LGU (local government unit) level, but there is a program for that already. It’s just awaiting something from the local community and the LGU,” he said, adding that he was unsure whether it had to do with permits.

“We will be responding [to the letter],” he said. “There’s no problem there. We’re committed that it will be addressed very soon.”

“We’ll follow up on the requirements,” he said. “That will be fixed.”

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Victor V. Saulon