PSALM seeks fresh rate hike

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2011 04:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2011 07:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - As if the current petitions are not enough to hurt the pockets of consumers, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has filed another petition seeking to raise power rates by P0.1059 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon and P0.1157 in Visayas.

In a petition filed at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday, PSALM sought a "true up adjustment" for Luzon of P0.1059/kwh, P0.1157/kwh for Visayas and a reduction of P0.0258/kwh for Mindanao.

This is on top of the stranded contract cost and stranded debts petitions amounting to an increase of P0.39/kwh. It also has a pending petition for generation and foreign currency adjustment which translates to a hike amounting to P4.99/kwh for Luzon, P4.04/kwh for Visayas and P0.79/kwh for Mindanao.

Another petition from PSALM is an adjustment of the National Power Corp.'s base rate where it asked for a P4.72/kwh for Luzon, P4.26/kwh for Visayas and P3.17 for Mindanao. The ERC has given them a provisional authority to increase but the full amount sought in the petition has not yet been approved.

Also pending with the ERC are petitions to pass on to consumers several costs by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP).

These include NGCP's recovery from damage by typhoons and theft at the facility amounting to P394 million, Meralco's generation underrecovery of P973 million which translates to P0.037/kwh increase for one year and Meralco's generation cost underrecovery of P900 million which translates to P0.036/kwh increase in one year.

ERC executive director Atty Francis Juan said the commission will ensure that consumers will not be badly affected by the rate hike by extending the recovery period or timing the approval to other cost components going down.

According to Juan, consumers must also understand that these underrecoveries are also needed by utilities and power firms to maintain the production of enough power supply for all.