OFFICIALS from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Department of Energy (DOE) and four distribution utilities (DUs) in Davao region met to explore ways to bring down power-generation charges.
ERC Commissioner Marko Romeo L. Fuentes led the consultative meeting held recently, the agency said last Thursday.
“Even before the start of the series of the PSA [Power Supply Agreement] caravan, the ERC has already identified a number of issues and the corresponding action plans,” Fuentes said. “In fact, the ERC just recently issued a resolution suspending the collection of the Feed-in Tariff Allowance (FIT-All).”
The ERC’s suspension of FIT-All collection spares consumers from paying P0.0364 per kWh for the next three billing months starting December 2022 until February 2023. This is one of the immediate reliefs ERC presented with the DUs during the PSA caravan.
Representatives from the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (Daneco), Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative Inc. (Doreco), Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative Inc. and the Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) discussed ideas to help mitigate the impact of increases in fuel prices on the electricity rates.
Representatives from the DLPC said they considered buying power from the cheapest source. The electric cooperatives (ECs) sought government involvement in providing assistance to the ECs to explain to their member-consumers that the magnitude of increase is beyond their control as generation charge is a pass-through cost.
Doreco representatives shared that when they entered into contract with an Independent Power Producer (IPP) with a diesel generating plant, the cost of fuel was not that high as it is now. The said EC manifested reliance on ERC’s extensive and prudent review of the formula for fuel pass-through in Power Supply Agreements (PSAs).
Daneco appealed for intervention on the schedule of Preventive Maintenance Schedule (PMS) of the generating plants. This, it stressed, impacts on the ability of the DUs to source cheap replacement power.
“There already exists a global crisis on the rising prices of oil and coal which caused electricity rates to increase. These problems are the reasons why we are here to find solutions. No one knows everything, but if we work together, we can survive this extraordinary period,” Fuentes said.
Last month, the ERC launched a PSA caravan in Laoag, Ilocos Norte to gain a good understanding of the challenges encountered by the DUs and consumers.
After Laoag, the agency is set to visit Caraga and Bicol regions. The agency hopes to complete its PSA caravan by first quarter of 2023.