Baguio, Benguet power rates adjusted by P0.13/kwh anew

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BAGUIO CITY – Power rates being charged by the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) from its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) experienced a slight adjustment for the December billing period following the slight increase in the generation, transmission and systems loss charges of the electric cooperative.

Based on the BENECO’s December billing, power rates for residential consumers slightly increased by P0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) from the previous P9.2261/kwh to the present P9.3636/kwh.

The slight increase in the power rates was triggered by the increase in the generation charge from P4.9500/kwh in November to P4.9501 in December, the hike in the transmission charge from P.6927/kwh in November to the present P0.7181/kwh and the adjustment of the systems loss charge from the P0.5078/kwh to the present P0.5440/kwh.

Last October, BENECO power rates in October significantly dropped by P0.3669/kwh compared to the rates in September or from P9.6346/kwh compared to the P9.2677/kwh.

Further, the power rates in November dropped by P0.0415 compared to the power rates charged by the electric cooperative in October. The November power rate of P9.2261/kwh compared to the October rate of P9.2677/kwh.

Earlier, BENECO officials and their counterparts from the Tokyo Energy and Marubeni (TEAM) Energy Corporation, the electric cooperative’s power supplier, had a series of talks to come up with strategies on how to mitigate the effects of the uncontrolled prices of coal in the world market to abate the increase in the power rates.

The major supplier of power to BENECO is the Sual-based coal-fired power plant operated by TEAM Energy Corporation where coal is the major ingredient being used in the production of energy.

Under the pertinent provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), pass through charges such as the generation and transmission charges, value added tax (VAT) among others which are collected by the generation and transmission companies as well as regulatory agencies are beyond the control of the electric cooperative while the pass on charge such as the distribution, supply and metering remains constant.

BENECO has an existing 50-year franchise to be a power distribution utility in the Baguio and Benguet area that is expected to expire in 2028 pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, rules and regulations governing its operations.

The uptrend in the cost of coal in the global market has significantly affected the generation cost of BENECO since TPEC’s generation facility is coal dependent.

Rowina Damian, BENECO’s rate analyst, said the increase in coal price has caused the increase in generation charge since January this year to the frustration of member consumers who are still grappling with the impact of the pandemic.

“The deal with Team is yet to be finalized but it agreed to effect for this month the reduced generation cost,” she said. By HENT