BENECO continues to assure its Member Consumer Owners (MCOs) that efforts are being exerted to avoid a very high leap of its rates despite the increase of P0.9188 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in this month's billing.
Residential consumers will be billed this September P10.48 per kWh, up from last month's P9.56 per kWh.
The increase was pushed by the generation rate of P5.73 per kWh or an increase of P0.78 per kWh compared to August which had a generation rate of P4.95 per kWh.
The generation cost is the cost of power that distribution utilities like BENECO pay to their power suppliers which account for more than 50% of the total monthly power bill.
Team Energy, BENECO's power supplier, and the electric cooperative are currently locked in negotiations over Team's bid to substantially increase the generation rate.
To break the impasse, the parties arrived at an interim agreement last week that Team will bill BENECO a generation rate of P5.73 per kWh effective this September. Team will then file an application before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to determine the increase it could bill BENECO.
The P5.73 per kWh generation cost caused the monthly bill to increase by P0.9188 per kWh.
The post pandemic increase in price of coal in the global market has affected the rates of the country's electric cooperatives who entered into power supply contracts with generation companies that run their generation plants with coal.
BENECO felt the impact of the increase of coal price when its generation rate threatened to breach the P5 mark, forcing electric cooperative officials to write Team and ask for a more reasonable increase to cushion its effect on consumers.
Team and BENECO arrived at an agreement of P4.95 per kWh which BENECO consumers enjoyed until August this year. Team said the skyrocketing price of coal in 2022 could no longer sustain the P4.95 price.
But BENECO stood pat on its position that any further increase would be costly to the electric cooperative and its MCOs. The parties, however, agreed at the interim rate of P5.73 per kWh pending the filing of an application for a rate increase before the ERC by Team .
According to Bloomberg.com, the rice of coal went to as high as $463 per metric ton in Sept 5 this year which is seven times higher than the price in 2020.