BAGUIO, Philippines – Power consumers in Baguio and Benguet moved to join the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) in opposing proposed power rate increases by filing a petition for intervention with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
The motion was in response to a petition for rate adjustment with the ERC in September 2022 submitted by independent power producer Team Energy Philippines Corporation (TPEC).
TPEC has a supply contract with the electric cooperative.
BENECO submitted its opposition to the ERC on October 17, 2022, pointing out that rate adjustments would mean power rate increases that would burden end-consumers.
The Electric Cooperative-Member Consumer Owner United Incorporated (EC-MCO) filed the petition for intervention on Friday, March 10, asserting that consumers in BENECO’s franchise area have a right to be heard and that the intervention was necessary to address their concerns.
The September 2022 motion for rate adjustment of the IPPs aimed to establish a new formula for the Electric Power Purchase Agreement (EPPA) between the IPPs and BENECO, taking into account the increasing price of coal used for energy production.
If the motion gets approved, the increased costs will be passed on to consumers, resulting in even higher power bills for over 220,000 accounts serviced by BENECO.
EC-MCO representative Daniel Ducayag said that although the ERC has settled the formula to be applied in the EPPA between IPPs and BENECO, which led to the first petition’s denial on February 23, interventions can still be made regarding the motion for rate adjustment.
The motion aimed to establish the new EPPA formula, which included the increasing prices of coal used in energy production as a factor.
Previous agreements pegged the generation charge at P3.85 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2020, but the applied rate rose to P5.73 per kWh as agreed in August 2022.
Ducayag warned that approving the IPPs’ motion would result in even higher power bills for the over 220,000 accounts serviced by BENECO.
If BENECO’s opposition is rejected and the motion for rate adjustment is allowed, Ducayag said, consumers in Baguio and Benguet would have no choice but to accept the increased power rates.
He said such a scenario makes EC-MCO meet the requirements for intervention.
Ducayag said the rules provide that an intervening party must have a legal interest or stand to directly gain or lose from the proceedings of a motion and that the intervenor’s rights cannot be addressed in a separate proceeding.
“The impact of the rate adjustment on the consumers in BENECO’s franchise area cannot be gainsaid. These consumers, therefore, have a right to be heard which can only be achieved through the instant petition for intervention,” read part of the EC-MCO petition. – Rappler.com
Angel Castillo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.