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Davao Light pins generation charge uptick on fuel prices

Davao Light linemen (Photo from Aboitiz Power website)

DAVAO CITY—The lingering high price of imported fuel has caused the uptick in the electricity of consumers, the Davao Light and Power Co. said in a statement.

The firm said the charges were noticeably higher beginning in consumers’ June and July bills.

The higher electricity bills could be seen in the generation charge item, with June seeing an increase to P6.5671 per kilowatt hour (kWh) and going up further to P6.9771 in July.

Davao Light’s statement noted that customers “are experiencing an increase in their June to July electric bills as the price of fuel in the world market pushed the generation rate up, which is the cost incurred to produce electricity, for the billing months of June and July.”

The price increase of imported fuel brought the overall electric rate for residential customers to P11.1086 per kWh in June and P11.6354 per kWh this July.

The generation charge was fluctuating this year, at P5.8834 per kWh in January to P5.9478 per kWh in March and to P6.0771 per kWh in April.

While the cost of imported fuel was reflected in the generation charge, Davao Light said its distribution charge remains at an average of P1.4257 per kWh as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the company said. Davao Light’s distribution charge has not increased since 2013, it added.

Understanding sought

DAVAO Light President and COO Rodger Velasco was quoted in the statement as saying that the company is affected by the global increase in fuel prices ‘because we source 50 percent of our power from non-renewable sources specifically diesel and coal.”

“Since we source the other 50 percent from hydropower, a renewable and cheaper source, our overall rate, however, is not as high as other distribution utilities in the country,” Velasco added. “We ask for understanding from our customers.”

Davao Light cited Republic Act 9136, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001 as stating that electric bills must be unbundled or itemized and segregated into various components of electricity charges for transparency. Three of these are the generation, transmission and distribution charges. The Epira is the principal regulatory framework for the Philippine electricity industry.

The company said generation and transmission charges “are pass-through charges that Davao Light only collects but does not earn from.”

“Being a power distribution utility, Davao Light’s charge is the distribution charge only.”

The company said it encourages customers to be prudent and efficient in the use of electricity.

“It is high time we check our daily routines and activities and see where we can efficiently use electricity. We may not notice it but small changes in our electric use will have a big impact on our consumption and our monthly electric bills,” Velasco said.

Panabo substation

MEANWHILE, the company announced it has transformed its Panabo substation into a full digital substation to meet the growing demand for electricity power in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

The Panabo substation was upgraded to 33 megavolt-ampere “to cater to the fast development of the area.” Davao Light said a substation “is a key component of a distribution system that regulates electricity voltage to make it stable and ready for residential, commercial, or industrial use.”

It added that the new digital substation could be remotely monitored and controlled, “enabling faster troubleshooting when problems arise and helping prevent unwanted interruptions.” This facility could help restore emergency power outages in nearby areas by switching the power from one source to another with a few clicks.

“We stay committed to supplying reliable electric service and remain a steadfast partner in the progress of the communities we serve,” Velasco said. “We continue to invest in the latest technology to align with the international standards of power distribution.”

Davao Light’s Panabo substation serves Panabo City and the Davao del Norte municipalities of Carmen, Dujali and Santo Tomas. When it started in 1994, it has a 20-megawatt (MW) capacity and 25,000 industrial, commercial and residential customers.

With the continuous facilities and services upgrades, 27 years later, the numbers more than tripled with peak power demand at 75 MW serving over 86,000 customers, according to the power utlity firm.

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