Power rate hike not ‘across the board’ – MinDA

Mar. 07, 2014

By John Rizle L. Saligumba
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – The increase in power rates by distribution utilities that either operate standby power generation facilities or are buying electricity from other producers for their “peaking requirement” is not “across the board”, a director of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

Rather, the level of increase in the respective consumer bill will vary from “coop to coop (electric cooperative)” said Rome0 Montenegro, director of MinDA’s Investment Promotions and Public Affairs Office.

“The use of modular gensets (generator sets) will have corresponding rate impact as applied with (the) ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission). The actual rate varies per electric coop (cooperative), depending on the capacity contracted,” said in a text message to Davao Today.

Earlier this month, for instance, the Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Dasureco) announced that it will increase its rates by an average of P1.57 per kilowatt hour as it buys electricity from the Alson’s Electric Development Corp (AEDC). Dasureco said the move will solve its supply requirements for the entire Davao del Sur which is now undergoing four hours rotating blackout per day.

Montenegro said “the modular gensets are being pushed as an interim measure to bridge supply gap as we expect large capacities such as 300-megawatt Therma South of Aboitiz to start coming online first quarter of next year.”

The agreement of Dasureco and AEDC would last for three years but is yet to undergo a public consultation.

In a text message to Davao Today Mt. Apo – Davao del Sur Chamber of Commerce Chairperson, Erlinda Pilapil-Suario said that she “do not yet know of a consultation.”

“Tapping of modular gensets is one of the measures put forward by the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee chaired by MinDA,” he said.

MinDa said in an email statement that the committee “had asked private distribution utilities (DUs) to run its embedded capacities such as diesel generators, even as it requested the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to judiciously accelerate provisional approval of pending rate applications for modular gensets that have already been installed.”

The MPMC is composed of government agencies concerned with solving the power deficiency in Mindanao and is headed by MinDA.

Montenegro said that President Benigno Aquino, Jr., signed Executive Order 371 on July 12, 2013 “for the implementation of Modular GenSets Program, with P4.5-billion allocation from Malampaya funds, to assist electric coops via rental or purchase option.”

“(I)f electric coops opt to have the gensets as embedded capacity for their own peaking requirement, then they can take such option. But it would depend on the contracting portfolio and their demand forecasting,” he said.

Montenegro said other electric cooperatives opting for modular gensets are the following: Socoteco (South Cotabato Electrict Cooperative) 1, Socoteco 2, Doreco (Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative), Daneco (Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative), Moresco (Misamis Oriental Electric Cooperative, Inc.) 1, Zamcelco (Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc.), Surneco (Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative) and Dasureco.

The militant group, Bayan, which protested the Department of Energy (DOE) office here earlier today called the office “useless” and “merely being used by power companies to defend their rate hikes.”

Bayan Spokesperson Sheena Duazo said in a text message that they expect Dasureco’s increase to be “only the beginning as others will surely follow.” (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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