AN OFFICIAL of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company Inc. (Cepalco) said the electric utility welcomes the opportunity to explain before the City Council the rate increases in the previous months.
Cepalco spokesperson Marilyn Chavez said rates have increased because of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management's (Psalm) reduced power allocation to Cepalco.
Chavez attributed the rate hike to the power distribution utility's purchase of diesel, which is costly, to prevent brown-outs or power interruptions.
Chavez explained that the increase of generation charge does not need a public consultation since power producers are allowed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to automatically compute the generation cost.
As the generation charge increases, government taxes in the electricity increase correspondingly, bringing the rate increase even higher, Chavez said.
"The only charge that vary and reflect on the electric bill every month is the generation charge and the government taxes, these are usually the reasons of the increase," she added.
Chavez noted that last month's increase is at P.54 centavos per kilowatt hour but this month, the generation charge decreased to P.65 centavos/kilowatt hour due to increased allocation by the Psalm following more frequent rain.
Last month’s increase for instance, would cause a city resident consuming an average of 250 kilowatts per hour to experience an increase of P135 in his monthly electricity bill. But with the decrease this month, a consumer will feel a corresponding P162 drop in his electric bill.
City Councilor Ian Nacaya, in Monday's regular session, had said that he noticed that his electricity bill had doubled in the past month from P7,000 to P14,000.
Nacaya wants Cepalco to explain to the public in the next regular session the reason of the increases and the frequent power interruptions.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 24, 2017.