BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. claimed victory for the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENECO) consumers/owners after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the latter to comply with ERC rules on Power Supply Agreements (PSA) with Kepco-Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC) extension and for the Philippine Electricity Spot Market Corporation (PEMC) to refund the congestion charges and other applicable charges previously collected from consumers in Negros and Panay, a press release from his office said.
Upon evaluation of the KSPC-PSA extension, ERC found that CENECO imposed unauthorized generation rates which included two Power Supply Agreement (PSA) contracts that expired on May 30, a situation in which Gamboa, as early as June, called for a refund of “the hefty differential amount” caused by the recent extension of the Kepco-Salcon Power Corp (KSPC)-PSA at a reduced capacity of 20 megawatt from a 40-megawatt power contract, it said.
The ERC noted that subject KSPC-PSA extension remained unapproved, therefore considered “ineligible contracts”, that needed to comply with the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) prescribed by the Department of Energy (DOE), the press release said.
Gamboa said CENECO failed to implement the winning bidder’s price of P3.29, after said price passed the CSP, and insisted on extending Power Supply Agreement (PSA) at P5.42 per kWh with KSPC for one year, starting May 26, estimated to be P367.7 million for one year or P1 million a day burden for CENECO consumers – of which this price differential must be refunded.
This prompted him to file a proposed resolution, which was accepted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) Committee of Energy and Public Utility last October 20, urging CENECO to account and settle through a refund of said differential amount caused by the KSPC-PSA extension and the congestion charges, et al, attributable to the damaged submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Gamboa said he was astoundingly shocked to learn that CENECO charged a National Power Corporation (NPC) -Time of Use (TOU) rate of P3.52 per kWh, saying, “All along the Bacolod consumers were made to understand that under the KSPC-PSA extension, a P5.42 per kWh will be charged for one year!”
He stressed, however, that “Even then, the TOU rate of P3.52/kWh is still higher than the approved CSP rate of P3.29/kWh which is still shortchanging the Bacolod consumers therefore to an estimated P40 million but a savings of more than P300 million at the ineligible contract price of P5.42/kWh.”
Gamboa attributed these feats and fruits of CENECO consumer groups’ long period of struggles that likewise prodded him to file proposed resolutions which were accepted by the SP Committee on Energy and Public Utility and joining various groups in street protests.
Meanwhile, in a press statement, CENECO was furnished by ERC its order to Philippine Electricity Spot Market Corporation (PEMC) dated September 20 to stop the collection from customers of the congestion charges, and other applicable charges until the complete restoration and operationalization of the said submarine transmission line or until a more applicable pricing and settlement solution is ordered by the Commission.
CENECO will implement a retroactive refund to be reflected promptly in the bills as soon as PEMC issues full and exact adjustments in accordance with the directive of the ERC.*