NO POWER HIKE IN OFF-GRID AREAS THIS DECEMBER – NAPOCOR

MANILA — Power bills for island areas will remain unchanged this December, according to the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

In a statement Thursday, Napocor stressed there will be no hike, amidst the warning of Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares that electricity prices for off-grid areas will move up.

Napocor president and chief executive officer Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita noted a new charge would have to pass through several public hearings before its endorsement to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Napocor added the basic fuel cost, which was approved by the ERC, remained unchanged since 2003.

Sta. Rita said Napocor could only tap the 13th Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) and the Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustments (ICERA) to recover fuel cost adjustments driven by the change of crude prices and the foreign exchange rate.

The state-owned corporation said the GRAM and ICERA charge filed at the ERC amounted to an average of Php 1.87 per kilowatthour (kWh) for January to June 2014.

Meanwhile, Napocor warned that blocking its recovery petitions could lead to brownouts in the off-grid areas, as a possible cut would lower its budget for operations.

It further explained it does not source its budget from the National Government, but from the said charges.

Napocor cited the collection was earmarked for fuel delivery payments and subsidy requirements of Qualified Third Parties.

The government-owned and controlled corporation further said it was willing to explain and answer the queries on the petition for the rate hike. Juzel L. Danganan/PNA