MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) has started seeking bidders for 660 megawatts (MW) of capacity as it expects power demand to increase in the summer months.

In a statement on Thursday, the power distributor said the capacities up for bidding will cover its 260-MW peaking requirement and 400-MW baseload requirement this year.

Meralco’s share price rose by 0.76% or P3 to close at P397 each.

The Department of Energy has issued a certificate of conformity for the interim power supply deals.

Meralco said the competitive selection process “considers the need for additional available capacities to augment supply to customers.”

Under the setup, distribution utilities must choose the cheapest electricity supply through bidding. Bidders have until Jan. 15 to submit expressions of interest.

A pre-bid conference will be held on Jan. 22, while the deadline to submit bids for the 260-MW and 400-MW capacities was set for Feb. 26 and 27, respectively.

Last year, Meralco started seeking bidders for 1,800-MW and 1,200-MW baseload capacities.  The 1,800-MW competitive selection process aims to find new suppliers for electricity that was supposed to be supplied by the two units of San Miguel Power Global Holdings Corp. — Excellent Energy Resources, Inc. and Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd.

Their contracts with Meralco were terminated in March after their power supply agreement  application went past the deadline.

Excellent Energy and Masinloc Power were supposed to start delivering electricity by 2024 and 2025 after securing the supply contracts in 2021.

Six entities expressed interest in the bidding for the 1,800-MW capacity — GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co., First NatGas Power Corp., SP New Energy Corp., Mariveles Power Generation Corp., Excellent Energy, and Masinloc Power.

Meanwhile, the 1,200-MW capacity is meant to replace the terminated power supply deals with South Premiere Power Corp., Solar Philippines Batangas Baseload Corp., and Sual Power, Inc., used to be called San Miguel Energy Corp.

The bid deadline for the 1,800-MW capacity was on Dec. 26, and Jan. 23 for the 1,200-MW supply.

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 an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera