NEWS: Daneco power rates up by P1 per kwh seen in ERC-proposed rules on “wheeling rates”

ERC proposal slammed by member-consumers
may 31
The new rules in setting “wheeling” power rates of electric cooperative as proposed by the Energy Regulatory Commission could result into overall average increases in power rates of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) amounting to almost P1 every year per kilowatt hour for the next three years.
ERC Commissioner Jose Reyes on Saturday’s public consultation at the Daneco main office in Montevista, Compostela Valley said that the “wheeling rates” are proposed as a new regulatory framework in the setting of power rates for electric cooperatives to adjust it with the “real prices” adding that the prices of power have already been deflated through the past years.
“This is also to make electric cooperatives give better service to their member-consumers,” he said.
But Daneco member and retired Daneco employee Priscilla Bartonico during the open forum slammed the ERc proposal saying that the increase of power rates generated by the proposed rules would hit hard Daneco’s residential consumers calling it “a great burden”.
She appealed to Daneco’s Board of Directors (BOD) not to approve the ERC-proposed rules otherwise review and make new methodology to make rates’ increases affordable “based on conservative budget”.
In Daneco simulated computation on the impact of the proposed rules various power user-categories, projected to increase per year per kilowatt hour were residential by 15.50 centavos or 43-percent increase, commercial by 4.95 centavos or 23-percent increase, public building by 4.61 centavos or 21-percent increase, industrial by 12.56 centavos or 90-percent increase, while projected to decrease were street lighting by 69.21 centavos or 72-percent decrease and industrial large load by 42-percent drop.
Offset against among each other, the simulation generated a net and overall average of 86.3 centavos or 31-percent increase.  
Even some members of Daneco BOD were not happy of the ERC proposal.
Daneco Director Dean Briz also questioned the proposed rules citing the detrimental implications of increased power rates to the member-consumers.
He said that they only got hold a copy of the endorsement of the rules as sent Daneco OIC General Manager Allan Laniba.
But Reyes said that the the ERC also based its proposal from the figures given by the Daneco management as basis in the formulation of the draft of the rules on “wheeling rates”.
He said though that the rules would still be subject to the approval of Daneco’s annual general assembly this coming August 30.
He added that it is “not the rates but the rules” being sought for approval by electric cooperatives nationwide.
With the wheeling rates, which would adjust power rates either increase or decrease based on the formula in the methodololgy, electric cooperatives could save from the costly process of public hearings and follows ups in Manila, the ERC commissioner said. 
In the ERC timetable, the rules’ effectivity would be September 26, 2009 or 15 days after its publication.
BOD chair Dr. Antonio Sembumpan also squelched start-up howl of protestation of attending members saying the board would thoroughly review the proposed rules before it would be submitted to the general assembly.
Meanwhile, Laniba in an interview said that the draft rules would cause a 200-percent decrease or a significant P2 drop per kilowatt hour in the power rates for street lighting.
He added that the it would also give opportunity for Daneco to recover the real property taxes levied by local government units to Daneco’s power lines and facilities.       
Moreover,  Reyes bared that there was still ERC’s provisional approval in the the last increase of power rates charged by power generator where he said Mindanao got lowest increase of power rates compared to Visayas which had about 83 centavos increase per kilowatt hour.   (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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