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  • By : Delmar O. CariƱo
  • Jun 15, 2020


PHILRECA's rant over NGCP's claim

The Phil. Rural Electric Cooperatives Assn. (PHILRECA) has to take a swipe against the NCGP's recent pronouncements on the percentages of the cost of power bills lest that the consumers of electric cooperatives will take the 33.49 percent as distribution cost as a matter of fact.

Indeed, we too enjoin the NGCP to clarify so that PHILRECA and the 121 ECs under its fold will not feel edgy. Perhaps, the transmission firm should give more footnotes to its infographics to further elaborate on how the figures were arrived at.

The news quoted the NGCP as saying that the components of the monthly electric bill given to consumers are shared as follows: generation charge (44.03%), distribution charge (33.49%), government taxes (14.45%) and transmission charge (3.93%). Proudly, the NGCP said that it actually charges P0.04 for transmission cost for every peso spent on electricity.

The claim did not sit well with PHILRECA. It said that there's no way that the distribution charge would bite a third of the monthly bill for consumers. Citing its own statistics, the group, through lawyer Janeene Depay-Colingan, general manager and executive director, said that the distribution charge only comprise 10% of the total bill. Where do the figures lie?

This corner noticed that the NGCP mentioned distribution utilities in general. The classification by accident included electric cooperatives whose rate methodology are anchored on their being non-stock and non-profit entities. Did the NGCP lump the ECs together with the private investor owned distribution utilities? If it did, that would be unfair to the ECs since their rates have their own disparities with that of the private utilities like Meralco or Davao Light.

A breakdown thus becomes necessary to further shed light if indeed the distribution rates of ECs could go as high as 33.49%. If the NGCP statement did not mean to include the rates of ECs, then a press release to that effect would be welcome. What the news item also failed to mention is the fact that ECs are classified according to the Rules for Setting Electric Cooperatives' Wheeling Rates (RSEC-WR) where rates matter most.

I do not know if the NGCP factored in this consideration into its equation. The average distribution charge of the ECs per classification under the RSEC-WR must be further studied to find out if the distribution charge of the ECs could really scale up to 33.49%. By PHILRECA's books, that's preposterous. Colingan said that for an EC that charges its customers P9.41 per kWh, 11% of such total is for the utility's distribution services while 16% is for transmission charge.

To claim that one third of the bill goes to distribution charges will naturally agitate our member consumers owners (MCOs) who might perpetuate the unfounded fact that ECs are no different from profit seeking businessmen. Such imagination could go wild. The MCOs will surely accuse their ECs of charging exorbitant rates instead of reducing their tariff since ECs are indisputably cooperatives by themselves.

The NGCP's claims could leave a bad impression especially during these difficult times when most people are getting restless on how to pay their electric bills. I believe that PHILRECA and the ECs are in no mood to engage NGCP into a bruising exchange of arguments. It's just that the matter must be corrected. Now na.