Baguio- Benguet power rates drop by P0.0415/kwh in November

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BAGUIO CITY – Power rates being charged by the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) from its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) over the past two months with a reduction of around P0.0415 per kilowatthour this November due to the slight decrease in the transmission charge.

Based on the data obtained from BENECO, residential consumers are charged P.9.2261/kwh this November compared to the P9.2677/kwh that was billed to them last October.

BENECO general manager Engr. Melchor S. Licoben stated that the decrease in power rates this November was because of the drop in the transmission charge from P0.7051/kwh last month to P0.6927/kwh in November.

Further, the decrease in power rates was complemented by the drop-in systems loss charge from P0.5277/kwh to 0.5078/kwh in November which is a sign of the efficiency in the management and operations of the electric cooperative amidst the ongoing leadership crisis that had existed for the past several months.

He disclosed that the generation charge of P4.9500/kwh has been consistent for October and November despite the fluctuating prices of coal in the world market that triggered increases in power rates during the previous months.

In October, BENECO power rates dropped by 0.30/kwh because of the earlier reported decrease in the generation charge from its power suppliers.

BENECO officials expressed hope on the continuous down trend in the power rates in the coming months to help in lessening the burden from the consumers who had been already heavily impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and aggravated by the previous increases in power rates.

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.

Since 2012, BENECO has not increased its existing distribution, supply and metering charge and despite the same, it was able to maintain its Class AAA status and one of the top performing rural electric cooperatives in the country which is being eyed by private distribution utilities for possible takeover in the future.

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.

At present, the current management and majority members of the Board of Directors are standing firm on their decision not to recognize controversial resolutions of the National Electrification Administration – Board of Directors (NEA-BOA) insisting on the appointment of an unqualified and not recommended applicant to the position of general manager since the same has not been actually opened as there was already an appointed general manager as early as April 21, 2020 based on Resolution No. 2020-90 of the BENECO board. By HENT