By Myrna M. Velasco
The country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) have logged average 10 percent improvement in their system loss record in the first half of the year, translating to 13 percent growth in energy sales, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
Based on data gathered by the electrification agency’s Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD), the average system loss of the rural power utilities had been down to 10.38 percent in January to June this year from 11.57 percent in the same period last year.
The performance of power utilities on system loss is closely monitored by regulators in the power sector because this could entail higher pass-on cost to consumers and higher cost for the power utility if it cannot meet the mandated system loss cap.
For the ECs, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has prescribed the level of system loss cap of 12 percent for them – and that also serves as the baseline of the corresponding costs that they can pass on to consumers via the electric bills.
The 10.38 percent system loss average record indicates that many electric cooperatives have already been adhering to the enforced caps by the industry regulator.
As reported by NEA, 96 electric cooperatives have registered system losses that are within the cap as instituted by the ERC while 39 ECs have posted single-digit system loss records.
Of the total 120 ECs operating in various parts of the country, it has been emphasized that only 15 ECs now have double-digit system losses ranging from 13 percent to 20 percent; and NEA indicated “this is lower than last year’s 31 ECs.”
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong thus noted that “this is a clear indicator that electric cooperatives are fully committed and ready to compete with other power distribution utilities in the country, as he further qualified that “lower system losses contribute to a reduction in power rates.”
Onward, it is the wish of the NEA chief that the electric cooperatives under his agency’s charge, “will strive to sustain the gains they have made, and do their utmost to further improve their services to their member-consumer-owners and other stakeholders.”
NEA cited in particular that the 10 ECs which registered the lower system losses. These are Aurora Electric Cooperative (AURELCO) at 2.03 percent; Batanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BATANELCO) at 2.79 percent; Leyte II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LEYECO II) at 2.91 percent; South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SOCOTECO II) at 2.91 percent; and Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Service Cooperative, Inc. (MORESCO I) at 2.99 percent.
Also reporting reduced system loss are Dinagat Island Electric Cooperative Inc. with 3.74-percent system loss; Cebu III Electric Cooperative Inc. with 3.88-percent; Bohol I Electric Cooperative Inc. (BOHECO I) at 6.20-percent; Iloilo III Electric Cooperative Inc. at 6.27-percent; and Surigao del Sur I Cooperative Inc. (SURECO I) at 6.38-percent.