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Complaints bring back power rates

12:09 AM March 06, 2014

CALBAYOG CITY, Philippines—Complaints by consumers over an unannounced power rate increase in January have forced Samar’s electric cooperative to revert to the old rate for its billing that month.

Thelma Cadajas, 40, of Barangay (village) Payahan, said she was “shocked” when she saw her bill more than doubled. Her monthly bill usually amounts to between P200 and P350. In January, it reached more than P800, she said.

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“We were not informed that an increase would be implemented,” Cadajas told the Inquirer. “This will really affect our monthly budget.”

The woman sells barbecue to earn extra income to support her three children. Her husband Raul is a construction worker.

Placida Balios, acting general manager of the Samar 1 Electric Cooperative (Samelco 1), explained that the increase in power rates was due to the spikes in the generation system and transmission charges for the December–January billing period.

The generation system charge of P3.65 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., the country’s biggest power distributor, was up by P0.65 centavos, or from P5.5172 to P6.1672 per kWh, Balios said.

On the other hand,  the transmission system charge by National Grid Corp. of the Philippines rose by P3.65, or from  P1.91 per kWh to P5.6163, she added.

During a legislative inquiry by the city council, Balios said Samelco would not implement the current bill following the consumers’ negative reaction. Jennifer Allegado, Inquirer Visayas

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