Socoteco power rates P3 higher than last year’s average

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 May) — Power rates of South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) for the month of April are up by close to 15 percent over March after Therma Marine Inc. reportedly charged the electric cooperative over P106 million for last month’s billing alone.

Electricity bills for the month of April cost at least P7.70 per kilowatthour, up almost P1 from March.

Socoteco II general manager Rodrigo Ocat earlier warned power rates would go up after the National Power Corporation (NPC) announced in March that it would cut down supply to just 45 megawatts following the shutting down of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant.

Ocat said they had to contract additional power supply from Therma Marine to minimize the impact of reduced power supply from NPC.

“We requested Therma Marine to bring their supply to 30MW which reduced the number of rotational brownout hours,” the Socoteco II manager earlier told reporters.

In April, Socoteco II implemented a 2- to4-hour rotational brownouts after total power supply from NPC barely reached 75 MW during peak hours.

Socoteco II has a peak hour requirement of 105 MW.

Gerry Desesto, Socoteco II head for institutional services department, said they already asked Power Sector Assets Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) for the breakdown of the Therma Marine billing which was already incorporated in the generation charge of Socoteco II’s electricity bill.

For the month of April, the generation charged was pegged at P4.1267 per kilowatt hour.

Including transmission, distribution, systems losses and other charges, the cost of electricity bill for Socoteco II consumers went up to P7.70 per kilowatt hour, nearly double the average total cost of P4.70 a year ago.

Therma Marine is reportedly charging Socoteco II at least P9.00 per kilowatthour.  The rate however changes when prices of petroleum products move up or down in the international market.

Therma Marine now owns the bunker C-fired Power Barges No 117 and 118 after these were sold by NPC as a result of the privatization of its generating assets. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)