Negros Occidental

Bacolod, Negros Occidental officials seek ERC nod on power deal to lower rates

Erwin Delilan

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Bacolod, Negros Occidental officials seek ERC nod on power deal to lower rates
Local officials say the approval of the proposed deal with the Energy Development Corporation would catalyze a reduction in power rates in Negros Occidental, including several cities

BACOLOD, Philippines – Officials in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental appealed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to speed up the approval of a proposed deal between a local power distributor and a giant energy producer which is seen to bring power rates in the province down.

Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer sent ERC Chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta letters on Monday, May 27, urging the commission to give the green light to the proposed purchase power agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and the Lopez group’s Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in response to the increasing electricity rates plaguing the province.

Copies of the letters were made public on Wednesday, May 29.

The EDC is one of the largest renewable energy companies in the country, known for its expertise in geothermal energy. 

The proposed agreement, which entails a 20-megawatt geothermal power supply from EDC, aims to alleviate CENECO’s heavy reliance on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), a marketplace where electricity is bought and sold in real-time based on actual supply and demand conditions.

Presently, a staggering 56% of CENECO’s power is sourced from WESM, but the relatively high pricing ranging from P14 to P16 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) has burdened consumers across the province.

Ferrer said ERC needs to approve the proposed deal or issue a provisional authority to mitigate the adverse impacts of the energy crisis on both households and businesses in Negros Occidental. 

He said the proposed deal, if approved, would not only curtail CENECO’s exposure to volatile market prices but also ensure a steady and affordable electricity supply for residents.

Benitez, for his part, said the ERC’s action on the proposal would provide relief to consumers grappling with skyrocketing electricity bills. 

Arnel Lapore, CENECO’s general manager, said the ERC approval would catalyze a reduction in electricity rates for 170,000 consumers spread across Bacolod and neighboring cities of Bago, Talisay, and Silay and in the towns of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

CENECO’s residential rates recently increased to P15.1632/kWh from April’s P11.9566/kWh, a move attributed to market volatility and weather-related factors.

The proposed agreement between CENECO and EDC, signed years ago, has languished at ERC, awaiting regulatory approval. –

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