The Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC-7) will ask the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to release the results of its evaluation of the power rate situation in Metro Cebu.
The council, which is the highest planning and policy-making body in Central Visayas, will write a letter to the ERC based on a new request by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) for intervention.
In a letter to to RDC-7 chairman Kenneth C. Cobonpue, chamber president Felix Taguiam said ERC commissioner-in-charge Floresinda G. Baldo-Digal was quoted in January 2021 as saying that the commission was going to complete its evaluation by February 2021.
As of Dec. 3, 2021, Taguiam said they have not received a copy of the ERC report on the results of its evaluation. He said such a report would provide a glimpse of ERC’s position in the issue and promote transparency.
Virgilio G. Espeleta, chairman of the RDC-7 economic development committee and former CCCI president, read Taguiam’s letter during the virtual full council meeting Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
“It has been almost a year since CCCI raised these and we respectfully need answers to all the queries we have raised to ERC especially on why Cebu has the highest cost of power in the Philippines,” Taguiam stated in his letter.
“Anticipating that the answers will be specific on: (1) what happens to all charges that VECO (now known as Visayan Electric) imposed on its consumers since 2013 i.e., will these result to refunds; and (2) what actions does ERC take on violators of the EPIRA Law…i.e., will these result to cancellation or cessation of PSAs? And finally, will these impact on the high cost of power in Cebu?” he added.
The chamber had actively participated in the ERC hearings on the March 2021 application of distribution utility Visayan Electric Co., Inc. for the confirmation and approval of its over/under recoveries for the years 2018 to 2020.
Taguiam warned that if this is granted, this will further increase the cost of electricity in Metro Cebu. The high cost of electricity has been identified as a major obstacle to achieving ease of doing business in Cebu.
For the billing period from Nov. 13 to Dec. 12, 2021, the average monthly rate for residential consumers is P12.30 per kilowatt-hour, over 13% higher than the P10.83/kWh for the same billing period in 2020, the Visayan Electric website showed.
The average monthly rates per kWh for the current billing period are P10.38 for bulk power, P9.36 for wholesale power, P8.89 for special wholesale, P11.13 for general power and P12.68 for general service.
Visayan Electric, a distribution utility jointly managed by the Aboitiz and Vivant groups, serves more than 1.7 million customers in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (MTVI/Ventures Cebu)