Impact of consumer awareness on electricity demand in the Philippines

Lenie Lectura writes on the Business Mirror website in the Philippines about the impact on Manila’s Electric Companies sales of increased awareness of energy efficiency opportunities.


Consumer awareness on saving power seen to cut Meralco sales

Increasing awareness on various ways on how to save electricity is expected to adversely affect the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) energy sales, its president said last week.

Meralco President Oscar Reyes said energy sales for 2018 are anticipated to grow by 3.5 percent year-on-year as against the 4.5-percent expected sales growth at end of this year.

“There was a relatively strong performance in 2017 [and] 2016, taken into account the context of a high base,” Reyes said. “In 2016 growth was at 9 percent, while in 2017 it is expected at 4.5 percent, mainly because of high bases in the last two years.”

Meralco’s sales volume last year grew by close to 8.8 percent at 40,142 gigawatt-hours. Sales growth last year was strong mainly on account of election-related spending, among others.

For 2017 Meralco expects sales growth at 4.5 percent, mainly on account of a weak first quarter. Reyes said first-quarter sales growth was “very soft.” After which, it “started to gain a bit of momentum in the second quarter.”

From January to March this year, energy-sales volume grew to 9,317 gigawatt hours (GWh), or a growth of only 3 percent over the same comparative period. This was brought about by a cooler temperature, an absence of the February 2016 leap year effect, which is equivalent to approximately 100 GWh lower energy sales, higher inflation, higher interest rates, a weaker peso and higher fuel prices, among others.

“For 2018 we see a growth of 3.5 percent, year-on-year, as we see an increase in energy efficiency that will impact on demand,” Reyes said.

The Meralco official explained that consumers across all sectors continue to practice energy-efficiency initiatives to help manage their electricity consumption.

Also, Reyes noted an increasing adoption of solar rooftops.

“Energy-saving tips, shift to solar rooftop, possible adoption of e-vehicles….these are the things that will impact on demand and, consequently, consumers are able to save,” Reyes said.

Sales volumes from January to September this year grew by 4 percent to 31,401 GWh. Meralco reported earlier that sales volume were higher across all customer classes, with residential energy sales up by 4 percent, commercial up by 5 percent and industrial up by 4 percent over the same nine months of 2016.

“If you go around, even in Metro Manila, you’ll see quite a number of developments—hotels, restaurants, real estate, retail trade, entertainment, semicon is doing well, basic metals are doing well, food and beverage also,” Reyes added.

For October, he said, energy sales grew by “about 7 percent year-on-year.”

Meralco has been providing household tips that may help save energy. Simple tips, such as unplugging appliances when not in use to avoid “phantom load,” using the air conditioner at mid setting, or at 25 degrees Celsius for maximum efficiency, using a power board or strip, which can supply power to several appliances at once and allows a user to conveniently turn them off simultaneously using just one switch and maximizing natural light during daytime and keeping appliances well maintained to ensure optimal performance.


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