BAGUIO CITY– Power rates collected by the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) from its member-consumer-owners (MCOs) significantly increased by P0.9188 per kilowatthour (kwh) during the September billing period following the drastic rise in generation, systems loss and universal charges.
Based on the comparative power rates obtained from BENECO under the leadership of general manager Engr. Melchor S. Licoben, the residential power rate for September was computed to be at P10.4820/kwh compared to the P9.5631/kwh similar charge during the August billing period.
The significant increase in BENECO’s power rates this month was caused by the drastic rise in generation charge from last month’s P4.9503/kwh to P5.7300/kwh during the September billing period or an increase of a whooping P0.7797/kwh primarily triggered by the skyrocketing world market price of coal.
Further, the systems loss charge for September which is P0.6809/kwh increased by P0.0701/kwh compared to the August systems loss charge which was only P0.6108/kwh.
Another aspect of the power rate in September that caused the sudden increase in BENECO’s power charges as the mandatory collection of the universal charge for missionary electrification pursuant to the earlier ruling of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which was pegged at P0.239/kwh which was not charged from the MCOs in the previous billing periods.
However, the transmission charge in September which is P0.8048/kwh decreased by P0.0671/kwh compared to the August transmission charge which was P0.8719/kwh.
On the other hand, BENECO’s commercial low voltage charge increased by P0.9003/kwh September where the present rate is P9.7523/kwh compared to the P8.8521/kwh last month.
Industrial rate also increased by P0.9003/kwh in the September billing period where the prevailing rate is P9.7210/kwh compared to last month’s rate of P8.8207/kwh.
The public building low voltage rate of P9.7245/kwh during the present billing period is higher by P0.9003/kwh compared to last month’s rate of P8.8243/kwh.
For streetlights, the power rate this September which has been computed to be P9.7523/kwh increased by P0.9003/kwh compared to the previous month’s rate of P8.8521/kwh.
Commercial high voltage rate this September is P8.2397/kwh which is higher than P0.9839/kwh compared to last months rate of P7.2558/kwh.
For public building high violate, the September rate is P8.2119 which is higher by P0.9839/kwh compared to the rate in August which was computed to be P7.2280/kwh.
Licoben claimed that the skyrocketing prices of coal in the world market which is now$430 per metric ton can no longer be afforded by the power generation companies that is why the increase in power rates is inevitable, especially that the generation charge is simply a pass through charge by the electric cooperatives and private power distribution companies or the same is beyond their control as per the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
He pointed out that the world market price of coal is more than five folds compared to its pre-pandemic price of $0 to $100 per metric ton.
Coal is the major fuel used by coal-fired power plants in the different parts of the country to produce power.