Power rate hike implemented in GenSan, 2 provinces; oil price increases blamed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 April) – Power rates here and in nearby Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces slightly increased anew this month due to the impact of the continuing increases in oil prices.

Rodolfo Ocat, general manager of the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II (Socoteco II), said Tuesday they implemented a 0.004-centavo increase in the area’s basic rates due to the new adjustments passed on to them by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

He said the rate increase was incorporated in the electric bills for the month of March that were received last week by local power consumers.

“The (power rate) increase was still very minimal because the bulk of our power supplies here in Mindanao are sourced from the hydropower plants,” Ocat said.

He said Mindanao currently sources 53.64 percent of its power requirements from the Agus and Pulangi hydropower plants in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces, respectively.

Ocat said some 19.06 percent was supplied by coal-fired power plants, 18.27 percent by diesel-fed generators and 9.03 percent by geothermal plants.

Since January, local fuel prices have continued to increase, which oil companies attributed to the continuing rise of fuel prices in the world market as a result of the political crisis in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

As of April 8, gasoline prices have already increased by P8.10 while diesel prices hiked by P6.35.

Last February, Socoteco II also increased its power rates by 13 percent due to the adjustment on the generation charges from the National Power Corporation (NPC).

With the new rate adjustment, the electric cooperative’s basic power rates slightly increased to P5.624 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for residential consumers from last month’s P5.62 per kwh.

Socoteco II currently serves more than 113,000 industrial and residential connections in this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)