Iloilo power utility: Consumers shouldn’t be burdened by damaged NGCP cables

Published September 21, 2021, 7:07 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY — The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is being urged by a power utility to intervene and ease the negative impact to consumers after a submarine cable transmitting power in the Visayas has been damaged by a government-related project.

“We urgently urged the Commission to look into the burden caused by the damaged submarine cable as this will continuously rip the consumers by paying exorbitant electricity rates,” said Roel Castro, president of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) in Iloilo City.

Similar to other Visayan power distributors, MORE Power has to charge higher generation fees after the submarine cable of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Negros Oriental is undergoing repair.

“This month, the generation charge of MORE Power is projected to increase by 76 percent after hitting a record low of P3.55 per kilowatt hour in July 2021,” Castro emphasized in a September 6 letter to ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera.

In his second letter to Devanadera dated September 6, Castro reiterated that the burden should not be passed on to power distributors and eventually consumers as it was a contractor of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) that damaged NGCP’s submarine cable when dredging a river last June 15.

For Castro, ERC must consider “the lamentations of the distribution utilities and electric cooperatives on behalf of paying consumers”.

MORE Power purchases its supply from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), which is transmitted to Iloilo City via NGCP.

On its part, the ERC is addressing the concern and already had a meeting with representatives of NGCP and DPWH.

“The Commission recognizes the concerns raised, thus, it is closely working with NGCP, DPWH and other parties involved for the immediate resolution of the issue,” said Devanadera to Castro in a response letter dated September 13.