April 18, 2024

■  Hanna C. Lacsamana

POWER SUPPLY ASSURED BUT… — While the Benguet Electric Cooperative has assured its members and consumers of a sustained power supply as a result of an emergency supply power agreement with Lima Power, it announced an increase in the monthly bills of households due to an increase in the transmission charges by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. Foremost to be affected are those who consume an average of 100 kilowatt hour a month, as they will pay an additional P46.39/kWh, including value-added tax. — Harley Palangchao

Starting this month, consumers of Benguet Electric Cooperative may expect an increase in their monthly electric bills.

This is after the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines imposed an increase its transmission charges, particularly on its ancillary service charges, which, based on the computation of Beneco  is equivalent to P21.3 million.

In an interview on March 14, Beneco General Manager Melchor Licoben said the increase is “very unfortunate” as this has to be passed on to the consumers.

He said they have written the NGCP to clarify the “sudden” and quite substantial increase in the ancillary service charges.

In a letter dated March 7 to NGCP Revenue and Regulatory Affairs Head Ma. Cynthia Manrique, Beneco has sought to clarify the increase which based on their computation translated to 509 percent increase for the contingency reserve, further translating to P21.3M for Beneco.

The amount also raised by 218 percent the January billing.

Licoben said due to the increase, residential consumers will expect an increase of P0.3666 per kilowatt hour house in transmission charge alone; an increase of P0.4705/kWh for low voltage commercial industrial consumers, public buildings, and streetlights; and for high-voltage consumers, the increase will be P203.80/kWh.

In a statement, Beneco explained residential consumers will also have to pay more from P9.9796/kWh in February to P10.4435/kWh. This means an increase of P0.4369/kWh. To illustrate, a family that consumes an average of 100kWh a month will be paying this month an additional P46.39/kWh, including value-added tax.

Meter reading has already started on March 11 and the bill to be issued this month will already reflect the increase in the ancillary service charges.

In the same statement, Beneco Office of the General Manager Executive Services and Regulatory Compliance Officer Olive Bete said they have requested the NGCP to publish the reason for the increase.

Licoben further asked the NGCP to make an advisory for consumers’ guidance.

NGCP has not released a statement on the increase as of this writing.

Licoben said consumers will soon expect the increases, first on the transmission charges this month, and on generation cost as a result of the emergency power supply agreement Beneco entered into with a San Miguel Global Power subsidiary following the end of Beneco’s power supply contract with Team Energy on March 12.

He clarified the increases are all pass-on charges being collected by Beneco and remitted to NCGP and its power supplier.

“With regards to the rate of Beneco, over the last 15 years we have not imposed increases in our distribution, supply, and metering charges,” he said.