Oro power to get cheaper in 2011

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY  (MindaNews/14 November) — The Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Light Company (Cepalco) will cut power rates by an average of five centavos per kilowatt hour starting July 2011, Engr. Richard S. Ratunil, Cepalco’s Economic Compliance Officer told the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) public hearing early this month.

The five-centavo cut will continue until 2014 or a total of 20-centavo cut per kilowatt hour in the next four years.

The cut translates to P10 reduction in the monthly power bill of the 200-kilowatt hour consumer households starting July 2011, P20 in 2012, P30 in 2013 and P40 in 2014.

The disclosure from Cepalco came during the cross-examination by Edison A. Arriola, legal counsel of the Konsumanteng Kagay-anon, Inc. (KKI) which intervened in the Annual Revenue Requirements application of the  power distribution utility before the ERC.

“We are pleased to inform you that there was confirmation from one of Cepalco’s witnesses regarding the drop in Cepalco’s charges for the next four regulatory years (i.e., at P0.05/kWh every year) due to the lower revaluation figure given by its independent appraiser,” Arriola said in a report submitted to KKI after the hearing.

“We are still waiting for all the compliances we required of Cepalco – e.g., salaries of employees, enumeration of all assets acquired in 2010, method and results of appraisers in the sampling on assets to be inspected and verified, and others,” Arriola said in his report.

Upon submission of all the compliances, Arriola said Cepalco has 15 days to file its Formal Offer of Evidence (FOE).  Similarly, upon receipt of the FOE from Cepalco, KKI has 15 days to file its own comments.

Cepalco has reserved the right to file their reply to KKI’s comments, and similarly, KKI has reserved its right to file a rejoinder within five days from receipt of Cepalco’s reply, Arriola added.

Within 30 days from receipt of or lapse of the period within which to file a pleading, Cepalco and KKI will simultaneously file their Memoranda, after which the application will be deemed submitted for decision by the ERC.

“We will wait for our official receipt of the ERC’s Draft Determination, the notice of which will inform us how much time we have to file our Comments,” Arriola said.

Besides KKI, other intervenors in the case include the City of Cagayan de Oro and Engr. Robert Mallilin.

Earlier, electricity consumers throughout Mindanao also stood to have a portion of their electricity bills for the past seven months refunded by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) after the ERC ordered the firm to reduce its ancillary charges by almost 50 centavos per kilowatt hours from the rates originally applied for by NGCP and Therma Marine Inc. (TMI), an affiliate of Aboitiz Power which operates the power barges M1 and M2.

KKI and Cepalco were both active participants in Coalition 6/25, a coalition of Mindanao consumer groups, distribution utilities, NGOs, LGUs and media which were vigorously opposing the “rate shock” power users throughout Mindanao experienced at the height of the Mindanao Power Crisis early this year as a result of the ancillary rates billed by NGCP from power provided by TMI for ancillary services. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)

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