Negros Occidental

Another Negros Occidental power firm slashes rates from P17 to P9 per kilowatt-hour

Ambo Delilan

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Another Negros Occidental power firm slashes rates from P17 to P9 per kilowatt-hour
The June rate reduction of more than P8 per kilowatt-hour is unprecedented for the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative

BACOLOD, Philippines – Local officials and power consumers in the northern part of Negros Occidental cheered as the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative (NONECO) announced an average P8 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) drop in the June power rates.

NONECO has announced the decrease in its June billing rate from P17.26 per kWh in May to P9.20, reflecting a reduction of P8.06.

“Nice, but I hope this continues, or NONECO should find an approach that will maintain the P9 per kWh rate so consumers will truly be relieved from high electricity costs,” said EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon on Monday, June 24.

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), described the rate reduction as “another breakthrough” for the business sector, especially after what he called an “exorbitant” May rate. 

He said he hoped that NONECO would engage more in participatory planning and reduce its reliance on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) to achieve a rate below P9 per kWh.

Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. and former Toboso mayor and now Councilor Richard Jaojoco also welcomed the NONECO announcement, saying it was “good news.”

The NONECO’s move followed the announcement in early June by another power distributor, Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative (NOCECO), about an average P3 reduction per kWh in the power rate in May. 

Another distributor, Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO), serving over 200,000 consumers, also lowered its June billing rate from P15.16 per kWh in May to P12.76, a reduction of P2.40.

MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power), the sole power distributor in Iloilo City, said it would have a reduced rate of P8.77 per kWh for June, down from May’s rate of P11.90.

The reductions followed protests from consumers against rate increases, urging government intervention to address the power supply issues in Negros Occidental.

Ruben de la China, officer-in-charge of NONECO’s institutional services department, the June rate reduction of over P8 per kWh was unprecedented for the cooperative.

De la China said about 185,000 member-consumers across EB Magalona, Manapla, Cadiz City, Sagay City, Escalante City, Toboso, Calatrava, and San Carlos City in northern Negros Occidental stand to benefit significantly from the reduction in NONECO’s power rates.

He attributed the substantial decrease to a recent directive from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on June 13, which mandated a four-month staggered payment for the coop’s power supply purchased from the WESM in May. 

About 65% of the electricity which NONECO distributes comes from WESM.

The ERC’s directive on staggered payments applies nationwide to distribution utilities struggling with high electricity costs driven by rising temperatures aggravated by the El Niño phenomenon.

More Power said it would comply with the ERC’s June 13 order for a four-month staggered payment plan for the May 2024 power billing cycle. 

Niel Parcon, MORE Power’s assistant vice president for corporate planning and regulatory affairs, said they have adjusted their billing cycle from June to September to align with the ERC’s directive aimed at mitigating the impacts of high electricity costs observed in May. – Rappler.com

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