Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said Tuesday energy sales volume likely rose 2.5 percent in the first quarter from a year ago despite the cooler temperature and consumer concerns over inflation.
“I think we’re seeing February year to date, sales growth to be around a little over 2 percent. That is against a high base in 2018. So [in] the first two months, growth has been in the area of 2 plus percent,” Meralco president Oscar Reyes said.
“Year to date to March around 2.5 percent, but I said we are coming from a high base. Growth was high last year. I think January, February, March, we were growing over 6 or 7 percent,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the industrial sector contributed “good growth numbers” in the first two months, followed by the commercial clients.
Residential growth was affected by slightly cooler temperature and concerns over the impact of inflation.
Meralco posted a 5-percent sales volume growth in 2018 to 44,313 gigawatt-hours on rapid urbanization of the north and south areas of its franchise area, increased activities of Philippine offshore gaming operators and the sustained demand for business process outsourcing services.
The 5-percent sales volume growth helped Meralco achieve an 11-percent increase in core net income to P22.4 billion last year from P20.213 billion in 2017.
Meralco’s reported net income also went up 13 percent to P23.017 billion in 2018 from P20.384 billion in 2017.
The company recorded a 7-percent increase in industrial sales volume last year, driven by the semiconductor, rubber and plastics and food and beverage industries.
Commercial volume sales grew 5 percent in 2018, on the growth of real estate, hotel and restaurant and retail trade.
Residential sales increased 4 percent, with customer count growing by almost 274,000 to 6.6 million last year.
Reyes earlier said the reliable power provisioning and distribution supported volume growth throughout 2018.
He said the company remained focused on the changing needs of Meralco customers, especially with millennials constituting a large chunk of the franchise population.
“Power generation investments are also key to ensuring a globally competitive power industry,” Reyes said.