Western Visayas power rate hike probed
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—The Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Board are looking into complaints of electric cooperatives in Western Visayas about the abrupt increase in power rates imposed by the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the investigation was called after the Western Visayas Electric Cooperatives Association (Weveca) wrote to the department questioning the sudden rate increase imposed by WESM on power cooperatives in the region.
WESM is similar to a stock market in which electricity being offered by independent power producers is bid out to bulk buyers, like electric cooperatives.
The cooperatives are opposing the increase which came just after Energy Development Corp. (EDC) offered to lower its rates on Negros Island.
They refused to pay the new rate that WESM is collecting for September, saying it would force them to collect higher rates from end users.
Among them are Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative 1 and Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative 2.
In his letter to Petilla, Weveca president Wilfred Billena said the WESM move would result in abrupt rate increases.
Billena said the higher rate would trigger an upward adjustment by P1.35 per kilowatt-hour by Aklan Electric Cooperative; P1.50 by Antique Electric Cooperative; P2.10 by Capiz Electric Cooperative; P1.52 by Central Negros Electric Cooperative; P4.58 by Guimaras Electric Cooperative; P1.62 by Iloilo Electric Cooperative 1; P1.60 by Iloilo Electric Cooperative 2; P2.50 by Iloilo Electric Cooperative 3; P1.92 by Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative; and P3 by Northern Negros Electric Cooperative.
He said he could not understand why WESM was increasing rates for Western Visayas despite a supposed oversupply of electricity in the region after the Visayas grid was isolated from Luzon.
“If this unacceptable price is implemented, it will result in grave injustice,” Billena said.
The increase came at a time when EDC offered to lower power rates in Negros in its desire to become a “good neighbor.”
An EDC firm, Green Core Geothermal Inc., operates geothermal plants in Palinpinon town in Negros Oriental province and Tongonan town in Leyte province.
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