ERC acts on Ceneco’s P232-M ‘excessive’ power supply deal

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has initially acted on the concern raised by local consumer group Power Watch Negros Advocates (PWNA) regarding the alleged excessive power supply agreement between Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and Kepco-Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC).

In a response letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) dated last February 1, ERC Consumer Affairs Service officer-in-charge Gregorio Ofalsa said the group’s complaint was already endorsed to the commission’s Regulatory Operations and Legal Service for appropriate action.

On January 19, DOE Electric Power Industry Management Bureau head Mario Marasigan asked for ERC’s comments and appropriate actions on the request of PWNA that the implementation of the order on ERC Case No. 2013-141 dated June 27, 2017 be held in abeyance and that an in-depth investigation be conducted.

The same query was also submitted by the DOE to Edgardo Masongsong, administrator of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), specifically asking for action on the request for an investigation.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of PWNA, Friday, March 9, said the initial action made by the ERC is a positive development for the power consumer sector.

Sancho said this means that the agency is giving attention to the plight of Ceneco member-consumers.

“We urge swift response from these two agencies to act with dispatch on this long-overdue concern,” he said, adding that they have not yet heard any action from the NEA.

In November last year, PWNA has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to intervene in the alleged excessive and incompetent power supply agreement.

In the letter received by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office in Metro Manila, the group appealed to the President for a thorough investigation of the P232 million worth of unpaid unaccepted contract quantity of Ceneco with KSPC.

Last September 14, KSPC in a letter informed Ceneco of the ERC’s decision, stating the confirmation and provisional approval of load-factor rate, monthly reconciliation, and the authority to collect the differential billing worth P232 million.

The unpaid unaccepted contract quantity of 24 megawatts (MW) of Ceneco with KSPC covering the period July 26, 2011 to November 25, 2013 will result to an additional charge of P0.8 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

The ERC ordered Ceneco to pay KSPC for the recovery of the said amount, which the former will charge to both residential and commercial consumers within 50 months.

However, no specific date of the start of payment was stated in the order.

Thus, in October, the Ceneco Board affirmed the move of president Roy Cordova to put on hold the collection of additional charges pending clarification from the ERC.

The electric cooperative also awaits the decision of the ERC on several motions for reconsideration filed by various intervenors, including the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod.

“What we just want is transparency for the consumers,” Sancho said, adding that they urged concerned agencies to clear this matter once and for all in order to prevent consumers from paying power supply they did not use.