BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Five solons in Western Visayas have authored a resolution requesting for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the increase in electric rates of electric cooperatives in Negros and Iloilo.
Resolution No. 2206 authored by Reps. Franscisco Benitez and Genaro Alvarez, Jr. of Negros Occidental, 3rd and 6th Districts, respectively; Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda, and Reps. Michael Gorriceta and Lorenz Defensor, Iloilo Province, 2nd and 3rd Districts respectively; was filed in the House of Representatives on September 13.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya was co-author of the resolution.
The resolution said Central Negros Electric Cooperatives held a forum on September 9 with various consumer groups, local governments, media and member consumer-owners (MCOs) to answer concerns on power outages and increase in per kilowatt hour power rates, estimated to be more than 15 percent from July to August billings, among others.
Electric cooperatives in Western Visayas have attributed the increase in their respective power rates in the last three months to high electricity market prices, it said.
In the same forum, the Electric Cooperatives Association of Region 6 (ECAR) said the major factor that caused the spike of electricity rates for the month of August originated from the damaged submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) connecting Cebu to Negros and Panay, causing imbalances in the power requirement intended for Region VI electric cooperatives automatically taken and supplied from WESM (Wholesale Electricity Market), the resolution said.
The ECAR also reported that electric cooperatives in Region VI are greatly affected by the high electricity market price which resulted in the increase of electricity rates from June to present among electricity consumers of electric cooperatives in the region, it said.
The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod have filed a resolution requesting the management and Board of Directors of Ceneco to explain and clarify immediately the hefty increase in electricity rates of electric cooperatives per kilowatt hour from its July to August billing, the resolution added.
Earlier, Mayor Evelio Leonardia made an appeal to ERC to immediately look into the increase in power rates in services areas under Ceneco.
Power Watch Negros secretary general Wennie Sancho said yesterday that the inquiry will be one of the agenda they will raise during the Annual General Membership Assembly to be conducted by Ceneco this month.*