BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Nobody should claim credit for the order issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission directing the Philippine Electricity Spot Market Corporation to stop the collection of congestion and other applicable charges attributable to the line outage, Wennie Sancho, Power Watch Negros Advocates secretary general, said yesterday.
The order was in response to the complaints of Western Visayas electric consumers on significant increase in the electricity rates originating from the damaged submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
Ceneco posted in its social media account that it took the complaints of member-consumer-owners (MCOs) against high electricity rates for the billing month of August to the ERC. It also said the Ceneco management and Board requested the Commission to intervene with the electricity rates hike in the market, and for NGCP to expedite the repair of its damaged submarine cable.
ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera, in her September 20 letter to PEMC president Leonido Pulido lll, said that the significant increases in electricity billings have been decried by many stakeholders in Negros and Panay as unreasonable burden to consumers and businesses.
NO MONOPOLY OF INFLUENCE
Sancho pointed out that it was House Resolution No.2206 that pushed ERC to issue the order because there was an upcoming congressional inquiry.
He said there is no monopoly of influence. It was a collective effort particularly of the two legislators from Iloilo including the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod City
The ERC Order is a welcome development for all the consumers of Ceneco, Sancho added.
Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. said that as early as August or September, they have already expressed in a manifesto their demands for rebates, including their opposition to the holding of the Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) on September 26. They also demanded that Ceneco register with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
It is unfair for the Ceneco management and Board or even for the City Mayor to claim that they have written the ERC which resulted to its action.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia made an appeal before the ERC to immediately look into the increase in power rates in service areas under Ceneco.
Seven Negros Occidental solons and three other Iloilo lawmakers have also pushed for a congressional inquiry on the power rates hike of various electric cooperatives in Western Visayas.*