Higher electricity sales and increased power rates buoyed power distributor Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) consolidated core net income by 135% in the first quarter.

“Meralco on Thursday reported that its consolidated core net income for the first quarter jumped to a hefty P2 billion from P800 million during the same period in 2009. Its consolidated net income for the same period soared by 127% to P2 billion.

“The company’s consolidated revenue increased by 34% to P61.1 billion, helped by an increase in its customer base and significantly higher average pass-through costs.”

— Meralco’s Q1 consolidated core net profit up 135% to P2-B

OK, OK, so Meralco has to pass on to consumers the power generation increase posted by its suppliers, but pray, tell, why pass on the distribution increase in April when electricity is sorely needed by customers and amid 2-hour rotational brownouts:

Distribution charge

Apart from the increase in generation charge, Meralco customers would also have to contend with the reflection of Meralco’s ERC-approved distribution charge increase.

The increase, which was granted under the performance-based regulation (PBR) scheme, was approved as early as December but would not be passed on to consumers until this month. This particular increase amounted to almost 27 centavos per kWh.

The PBR scheme allowed distribution utilities such as Meralco to charge rates based on projected investments and operating expenses related to electricity distribution.

PDI: Power Down, Rates UP

On Facebook: Protest against MERALCO electricity price hike