PSALM also overcharged electric cooperatives

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2012 11:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2012 07:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Aside from Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), around 90 electric cooperatives in the country have been overcharged by Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) in line rental losses.

The Philippine Electric Cooperatives Association  (PHILRECA) confirms that around 90 of their 119 members continue to pay double for line rental loss.

Philreca president Fred Villena estimates the overcharge amounts to around P4.5 billion.

According to Villena, they have already brought out their complaints as early as the spot market began operating in 2006. But Villena admits the complaints were verbal.

He says the group will meet this month in order to file a formal petition with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to also recover the amount now that Meralco has came out with a formal demand for refund.

Meanwhile, the ERC has confirmed that the double charge for line rental loss continues up to now since it is not easy to separate the loss component from the overall line rental charges of PSALM and Napocor to distribution utilities.

ERC executive director Francis Juan says PSALM can no longer compute the overcharged amount since the data are from way back 2006 are no longer available.

He said the Commission will decide if it will adapt the computation of Meralco which amounts to P9.1 billion (between 2006 to May 2012 only).

Juan has clarified though that there is no intention for PSALM to overcharge, saying that the lapse was considered "birthing pains" when the spot market was launched six years ago.