Power bills surge amid long blackouts

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


AFTER a week of enduring long hours of daily brownout this summer season, power consumers in Davao City are now complaining about high electricity rates appearing on their bills for the month of May.

Rants about the increase are common comments on the Facebook account of the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC).

But Ross Luga, DLPC corporate communications officer, explained the increase was due to the additional "P0.45 increment generation charge pass-through per kilowatt hour" in the present power bill.

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Pass-through costs are fees paid to power suppliers that operate and maintain the electricity network.

Netizen Sonny Lanorias said their bill reached as high as P7,900, which is P1,600 higher than their previous bill.

"Ngano nitaas man? Cge man untag brownout. Since when did you increase your generation charge?" Lanorias asked.

Another netizen Winston Liza Acaso-Ferrando also questioned DLPC about the increase.

"Bawas na gani akong kita kay sigeg brownout ningtaas na hinoon ang balayronon sa kuryente (My sales went down due to the brownouts, now the power rates increased)," Ferrando said.

Emelia Arenas said her bill for the month of April was only P900, but it increased to P1,500 in May despite the long power interruptions.

Luga explained that the P0.45 generation charge pass through was from its other power supplier, outside National Power Corp., which is fuel-fired and which is more costly.
"The DLPC had to look for other sources of power, which is fuel-fired, since there is a shortage of power supply from the National Power Corporation (Napocor)," Luga said Tuesday.

"Dunay estimated napagsaka sa consumption in May vs February. Naa siya sa P0.45 per kilowatt hour (There is an estimated rise on the consumption in May against February to P0.45 per kilowatt hour)," he said, adding that the generation charge in February this year is P3.8836.

For example, he said the average residential consumption in a month is 175 kilowat per hour (kWh). The 175 kWh is multiplied by P0.45 for increment generation pass thru.

Thus, basically, there is a P78.75 expected increase in the electricity bills of each average residential consumer.

Further, the DLPC, through its Facebook account explained that there are two factors affecting the electricity bill-the amount of energy consumed and the electricity rate.

"The normal tendency when hit with rotational brownouts is for the energy consumption to go down but it is not always the case since some might use electricity more during the periods when it is available to compensate or to do the activities they have not done or completed because of the brownouts," the DLPC also told its consumers to compare the electricity rates.

"The generation rate changes correspondingly to the change in the generation mix. Generation mix is the mixture of the different rates of power suppliers from which distribution utilities get power to distribute to their customers. If the distribution utility gets a greater portion of its power requirements from the more expensive suppliers, its generation mix rate increase," it said.

It added that, "this is normally the case when there is a power shortage situation since the tendency is to run the more expensive plants to cover for the non-availability of the less expensive ones such as the hydropower plants."

"Generation and transmission costs are passed-on charges which the distribution utilities just collect and pay to the generating companies they get power supply from and to the transmission service provider," the DLPC said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 14, 2014.

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