Solons call for probe on power rate hikes

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  • MITCH M. LIPA

Congressmen from Negros Occidental and Iloilo are calling for a House inquiry on the power rate increases in Negros and Panay.

All seven Negros Occidental solons and three lawmakers in Iloilo said that there is a need to look into the increases in electricity rates implemented by electric cooperatives in Panay and Negros.

Rep. Francisco Benitez of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental has authored Resolution No. 2206 that urges members of the House to determine what is causing the increase in electricity rates and what they can do to minimize the burden to consumers.

The spike in the electricity bill for the month of August brought financial burden to consumers at a time when business and household incomes are affected because of the pandemic, he said.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia is asking the help of the Energy Regulatory Commission to look into the increase in the residential rates of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative.

He also sought the intervention of the ERC for the speedy repair of the damaged submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in Amlan, Negros Oriental.

The incident happed in June, and led to intermittent power interruptions since the NGCP has to implement load shedding because of the limited power supply.

Because of this, electric cooperatives have to buy power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market at higher prices, resulting in increased electricity rates passed on to consumers.

Other electric cooperatives in Negros and Panay Islands were also forced to increase their rates.

Earlier, the members of the CENECO Board wrote ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera regarding the damaged submarine cable of the NGCP. — MML