Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Energy Costs in the PI (Not What You Think They Are?!?)


In my research for finding a hard budget that could rely on to base my retirement fund off of, I started researching re-occurring bills and what they would need to be. There are articles on the web that kind of gloss over the topic, many saying “retire on $800 USD per month in the PI” and the like, but none nailing down the numbers. I started looking at my costs here and trying to get cold hard numbers for what I could expect in the PI. I looked all over the web and couldn’t really find anything very helpful.

I was talking with my wife and it hit me, like duh……… why not just ask a friend in the PI to email me his electric bill. And that’s exactly what I did. This bill is a good size house in a suburb outside of Manila. Each area has it’s own electric company and prices will vary but this should give you a good idea of what to expect. You can take these numbers and apply them to your current usage and get a solid picture of what is to come. I will give a comparison with my own electric bill from the middle of summer in Texas, about as expensive as your gonna get in the states, on a medium sized 2 story home.

We run our central air conditioning 24/7 (set at 65) and have 5 computers running 24/7

Click on the picture to get a larger clear version of the bill in a new window/tab.


Next up we have a friends bill from a house outside of Manila, good size house in a upper class neighborhood, I don’t think there is central air but the house is bigger than mine here in the states.

Click on the picture to get a larger clear version of the bill in a new window/tab.

merlarco Now for the comparison, I’ll do most of the work for you ๐Ÿ™‚

USA Electric
Manila Electric
Bill Days 34 30
Kwh Used 3905 2507
Avg. Kwh/Day 114.9 83.5
Cost per day $12.11 $16.51
Cost per Kwh $0.11
Total Cost of Kwh $411.58 $495.37
Used 48 PhP/USD

As you can see I was floored by the comparison.ย  Almost 2x as much for electricity! If I were to apply the Merlarco rate to my KWh used my bill here in the states would be $781 / month!!!!!!!!!!!! This is suppse to be a 3rd would country where everything is cheap, no? Right then and there, my mind started racing and yelling what are we going to do?, not many if any expats have $800 USD a month to spend on electricity. I’ll admit that our house here is like a igloo, heh, (my poor Neneng, always has blankets and robes within reach)

The numbers don’t lie. That set me off on a mission to find any and every economical way to save on electricity bill. I am aware that most Philippine households are not kept at arctic temperatures ๐Ÿ™‚ But that does not negate the fact that I have always been more comfortable when my environment has been cool. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it to be hot at the right times ๐Ÿ˜‰ , I mean playing golf in the cold is no fun, heh, but when your in bed and your sweating that is just not pleasant.

I will have several articles covering what you can do and what we are planning to do in regards to our house construction and lifestyle to stem the tide of the Evil Philippine Electric Coops.

Stay Tuned.

If you would like to share your electric usage and pricing, hit up the comment section and lets get this beast under control ๐Ÿ™‚

Related Posts:


18 Responses to “Energy Costs in the PI (Not What You Think They Are?!?)”
  1. Bruce says:

    Both you and your friend in Manila pay more for electricity then I had ever paid in my life, in the States or here.
    We have a small 3 bedroom house. Because of the house starting as a small home and then increased in size being built to the property line on 3 sides. Because of this, the 2 small bedrooms have no windows. We run exhaust fans in these rooms 24/7 plus regular fans when the rooms are occupied. We also have a ceiling fan in the kitchen/dining area and a stand fan in our bedroom and living room when occupied. We also use a large, 2 1/2 HP Aircon in our bedroom from about 9pm to 8am every day.
    With this said, we only pay about 6,000 Php ($125 USD) a month. It is still more expensive than the US. I had a 2 story 1300 sq ft townhouse in South East Florida. I ran the A/C 24/7 set at 75 degrees during the days and 73 degrees at night. I never paid more then $75 a month.

  2. rich says:

    I wish my bill was that, as you can see its not :(, i am going to monitor the duplex were staying in next month, i hope that it has a separate meter for each side, so i can see the kWh usage. Ya we have the a/c set to 65 here basically all day, plus a window unit in my office for really hot days.

    Your bill would be a dream ๐Ÿ™‚ thats our winter bill haha, maybe its my computers eating all the juice, hmmmm time for some testing!
    I do have 1000 watt PSUs in them ๐Ÿ™‚

    If we had your bill I would be there at least 1 year earlier lol

  3. Tom says:

    Wow your electric bill is three times the budget I have now to maintain a 2br apartment. I mean the whole budget for everything. There is an A/C in one bedroom and a computer. Then they use fans and lights. Electric bill this month was about P1288.

    Keep in mind most housed in the Philippines use LP gas for cooking so no electricity for that. You can get electric stoves if you really prefer.

    Reducing useage would be a good inital step I think. There are of course other things you can do. Interested to see your ideas.

  4. rich says:

    Yes will be putting up articles relating to what I plan to do as far as LPG. I agree its high, Im in the process of tracking it down, I believe its my office those 1000 watt PSUs pull alot of amperage ๐Ÿ™

  5. Tom says:

    Yes that is probably a lot of it plus the extra juice to cool it back down after the PSU’s use juice to heat it up. Single level might help if you plan to A/C the whole place. Two floors can actually be helpful in some places because the upper floors catch the cooler night breezes. (Providing there are any) So fans can circulate the air and cool the whole place.

    Most people in the Philippines I know just cool the bedrooms at night if they use A/C.

  6. rich says:

    yes thats the plan basically single story, no carpet, high ceilings, good roofing, tons insulation, concrete, big fans/large pitch, and a/c in key rooms.

  7. First thing is the prices vary province to province which is a major problem. Although ours currently comes in at around P1,600 a month with 1 x A/C and electric fans running all day (as well as a lot of gadgets). But I think the main thing is finding a way round a lot of the costs rather than trying to justify the expense.

    Firstly your friends house is in Manila so likely to be more expensive rates due to city living. Second is the issue of location as most foreign nationals live in Sub-Divisions problem with this is the same that made climate change seem worse than it is on the planet. Once you start constructing buildings around another the natural heat in the area rises by as much as 5 degrees. There is also the issue of height. In most local areas you will find most houses dont go higher than 2 levels. If you put in a roof decking area with a canopy this will not only reduce the heat in the rooms below but also its a lot cooler throughout the day for sitting up in which wont need cooling at all. This means if used as a sitting/dining area you can switch off most of the cooling equipment in the rest of the house. Might be worth sticking timer circuits on ceiling fans etc. So that in the morning they switch themselves off and in the evening on when needed.

    But the most important thing is looking at how each person lives. We have managed on a budget of P15,000 a month before but currently its around P25,000 but as the budget has increased so has our income. On a tight month we can easily crank back. Another factor to look at is excess westerners generally have 101 gadgets and only really need 10 of them selling the excess and going back to manual on a lot of equipment isnt only cheaper but less likely to need spares or repairs due to the climate issue in the Philippines and the fact Ants love electronics to eat.

    • rich says:

      Great idea on the timers for the fans ๐Ÿ™‚ Ya the A/C units will be run Im sure everyday in the beginning, until we acclimate fully to the humidity. Every time we go over it takes a couple weeks before you stop sweating like a dog. I’m sure that within the first year, we will get a much better picture. Electricity use is such a personal thing that it is very hard to judge your requirements.

    • rich says:


      Agreed there will be a settling in phase that will go on along with our own acclimation to the humidity.

  8. Randy says:

    If I remember correctly, Meralco in Manila was fairly expensive for electic however to the best of my recollection in Davao city we were paying between P6 and P7 per kWh. That should equal to about 0.14 cents per kwh.
    We have a 2 bedroom condo in Davao city and although we pretty much only run the A/C at night and fans during the day our average monthly bill was about P2,500. I guess that’s about $55.
    we have had guests stay in our condo and run the a/c 24 hour a day and they obviously paid much more I beleive somewhere in the $120 range but its more of a waste as opposed to cost.

  9. Dave Starr says:

    Well my last bill Meralco bill shows this for the preceding 12 months:

    413 kWh per month
    143.61 Pesos per day.

    This is a12 month rolling average Meralco has published on my bill for the 4 years I have been living here.

    Living just outside the metro Manila area proper I hear the “it’s cheaper in whatever” province claim day in, day out. For many things, like day labor, produce and fish at local markets, etc., this is correct. For other things, not so much. Many items that foreigners are going to want seem to go up in price the farther you get from Manila.

    I have a kano friend in a large house in Davao and his electric bills are typically two or three times mine …but like many of these apples and oranges discussions without knowing how many kWh per month he uses it’s had to put an exact price comparison in effect.

    In most of Luzon island, nobody is going to be much cheaper than Meralcoo, becuase Meralco is wholesaling the power to most of the other companies on the island. This of course doesn’t apply elsewhere in the country.

    An important factor to consider also is, availability. I’ve had a grand total of about 20 hours of outage in all of 2010 so far … this includes 12 hours or so during one typhoon. Many people elsewhere have 20 hours per week of outage (or more) in the the past year, so it’s often much more an issue of power or no power rather than the cost when it’s available.

    Two observations I’ll make:

    First: The infrastructure for the whole country is woefully undersized and under-maintained. The last administration virtually ignore the problem and the current administration seems to be ignoring it even further. The situation is going to get much worse before it get better.

    Second: Anyone who moves here from the US and intends to operate as they did in the US is just going to subject themselves to a lot of heartache. I’ve been involved in way more “failed kano in the Philippines” stories than I even like to remember and virtually all of them trace back to the “I know better” or “We do it better in the US” syndrome.

    Just my observation, of course.

    • rich says:


      Great to have you at the site ๐Ÿ™‚ Love yours, don’t know how you do it day in and day out, coming up with info. That is what I would of expected in regards to the Meralco billing as well. Glad to gain another prospective. I’m hoping someone from Davao will chime in with their exact numbers instead of, like you said, “oh its cheaper than Manila”. (Keep in mind that the Meralco user from the bill above, is a large house, even for USA standards. More like a compound. Your observations are right on the money, Davao has had rolling brownouts all year, with the hydroelectric flow limited by less than normal rainfall. And the second, that’s a topic in and of itself. It is very hard for people to loose the expectations and habits they have been building for 30-40 years. I too get in this mode sometimes, although I am getting better. You have to sometimes say to yourself “this is the normal way” even though there are better ways to do it.

      p.s. I will be posting and article on backup power for homes very soon ๐Ÿ™‚

      again thanks for stopping by, make sure to get email notifications in the upper right, as I don’t have as many topics as you do ๐Ÿ™‚ mine are spread out a bit more.

      quick edit: In case you guys and gals don’t know Dave, aka Philly, runs great wealth of information. We have a link to him on the right hand side of the page.

      • Gary Wigle says:

        I live in Tagum City about 60 km northeast of Davao. In the past 5 months I have yet to have a power bill over 1,000 pesos. No aircon, not needed. Just fans. I agree with Dave, don’t bring your USA lifestyle here. You will be going back faster than you got here. In the States I ran up to 3 aircons but never had a bill as high as yours in Texas. My advice? Scale down your lifestyle here in the Philippines or the States. Too much other things to spend money on than keeping the lights lit.


        • rich says:

          Hi Gary glad to have you, been to Tagum many times ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree Gary, but when my office (in my house 2nd story) hits 100 degrees in the summer (without aircon) you tend to forget about saving the money. Its all the dang computers ๐Ÿ™ I have put a dedicated window unit just for that room.

  10. awe says:

    –“This is suppse to be a 3rd would country where everything is cheap, no?”

    That is the main reason why Philippines is in the category of 3rd world country.. Electricity bill keeps our neck restrained. Capitalist stepping up higher than the government. Now imagine, Philippines with low electricity bill, where will be our Place in this world?…


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] I first realized the extreme costs of electricity in the Philippines ( Energy Costs in the PI (Not What You Think They Are?!?) ), I immediately started looking for solutions to the problem. The very first thought that came to […]

  2. […] Energy Costs in the PI (Not What You Think They Are?!?) […]

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

CommentLuv badge