BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Seven Negros Occidental solons and three other Iloilo lawmakers are pushing for congressional inquiry on the power rates hike of various electric cooperatives in Western Visayas.
Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez yesterday said that they want to determine the causes of increase in electricity rates and what solutions could be made to minimize the cost on consumers.
We want to ease the financial burden of our constituents at a time when business and household income are affected because of the pandemic, Benitez, who authored in filing House Resolution 2206 that calls for an inquiry, said.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Rep. Gerardo Valmayor (1st district), Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd district), Rep. Juliet Ferrer (4th district), Rep. Marilou Arroyo (5th district), Rep. Genaro Alvarez (6th district), as well as Iloilo Representatives Lorenz Defensor, Mike Gorricita and Jam Baronda, also co-authored the resolution.
The Electric Cooperatives Association of Region 6 (ECAR), of which Central Negros, Northern Negros and Negros Occidental Electric Cooperatives are members, issued a statement that they are also greatly affected by the high market cost which translated to higher power rates since June this year.
ECAR said a major factor that entails the spike of electricity rates for August originated from the damaged submarine cable of the NGCP connecting Cebu to Negros to Panay, causing imbalances of power requirement intended electric cooperatives in the region automatically supplied the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).
“As a whole, the generation charge of the power generators triggered the increase of power rates because of its expensive price in the electricity spot market,” ECAR explained, adding that the Distribution, Supply and Metering charge of electric cooperatives in the region, on the other hand, remains the same.*