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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, December 8, 2011
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CENECO owes P204M,
consumers to bear brunt


Panay Electric Development Corp. said Central Negros Electric Cooperative owes it P204 million for coal-fired power it purchased early this year, but CENECO says it should be P156 million or P48 million less.

The final amount agreed on as payment will eventually be passed on to CENECO consumers.

CENECO president Arnel Lapore said yesterday they are negotiating with PEDC to bring down its P204 million bill, which final amount will eventually be ruled on by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Hopefully, we can come up with a reasonable and fair price,” Lapore said.

“PEDC is also our partner, we cannot deny their importance to our industry. Later on we will return to them to buy power, our load growth is about 3 to 5 percent and we have to be prepared for this with all the investments coming into Bacolod,” he added.

Both parties are negotiating in good faith, Art Aguilar, Global Business Power Corp. president that owns PEDC, also said.

Aguilar said that, if it were not for PEDC power that its supplied to CENECO even without a contract, Negros Occidental would have been faced with blackouts from December last year up to April this year.

The rates PEDC charged CENECO were the same as what it charged other firms buying power from it, Aguilar said.

Lapore said the amount the ERC approves as CENECO payment to PEDC will be passed on to consumers for payment.

“If PEDC requires payment over a three-year period the pass-on rate to consumers will be about 20 centavos per kilowatt. We are asking that it be spread over more years so the pass on rate will be lower,” Lapore said.

CENECO has stopped buying power from PEDC.

But Lapore said CENECO still has a signed contract with PEDC for the purchase of 10 megawatts of diesel power for its peak-hour needs otherwise it will be forced to get from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market,   which has a higher cost.

Meanwhile, CENECO is continuing to oppose the 44 centavos per kilowatt hour power rate increase sought by Kepco SPC Power Corp. in Cebu, and is calling on other cooperatives to join them, he said.

The 44 centavos will be much higher after power transmission cost and Value Added Tax is added to it, Lapore said.

CENECO manager, Sulpicio Lagarde, said the Electric Power Industry Reform Act has to be revisited to address the continued rise in power rates.

There should be a review of line rental charges for the transmission of power that is about 80 centavos to P1 per kilowatt, Lapore added.

Lapore said CENECO is filing a complaint against the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. before the ERC for review of the line rental rates.

CENECO is also addressing the problem of inaccurate meter reading.

It will replace some problematic meter readers and is training new ones for the job, Lagarde said.*CPG




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