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ERC urged to act on CENECO, EDC joint petition

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

In response to concerns over exorbitant electricity bills for the month of May, Negros Occidental acting Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez have called on the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to favorably act on the joint petition filed on March 15 by the Central Negros Electric Cooperative Inc. (CENECO) and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

In a letter to ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta, Benitez said “more than 60 days have passed since the filing of this petition clearly shows that ERC has not acted on it timely, resulting in an intolerable increase in our power rates.”

“Considering the extreme urgency of the situation, we beg the indulgence of the ERC to act on the said Joint Petition expeditiously,” he added.

CENECO sought Provisional Authority from ERC for additional 20 megawatts of power to be supplied by EDC.

Ferrer, in a separate letter to Dimalanta, also expressed strong support for the CENECO motion for issuance of a Provisional Authority to implement the Power Supply Agreement with EDC.

Issuing this provisional authority is crucial, given the current state of our energy supply and economic conditions, he said.

Our foremost priority is to ensure the continuous and reliable delivery of electricity to the residents and businesses in our jurisdiction, Ferrer added.

After a thorough dialogue with CENECO officials on the issue, Benitez said “it is of my understanding that one of the major reasons attributed to the increase of power rates is the inaction of ERC on the Joint Petition filed by CENECO and EDC, last March 15, 2024 under ERC Case No. 2024-038 RC.”

He urgently requested ERC to do its job and address this matter swiftly, to provide Bacolodnons relief from the rising electricity costs.

Benitez also lauded the ERC for “temporarily suspending the operation of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) under the declaration of red alert of the systems operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).”

“We can expect for power prices to lower down as the rate freeze is implemented, however, the same has not been implemented in the recent months since the suspension,” he further said.*

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