THE Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) president Roberto Montelibano urged National Power Corp. (Napocor) to explain to the consuming public their petition for power rate increase.

"Generally, I oppose unless they (MBCCI officials) justify their petition. I think the public must be well informed about this to avoid misconception to happen again," said Montelibano Sunday night.

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Montelibano has appealed the public to be vigilant on the issue.

Napocor, a state-owned company, wants to increase power rates by P1.7033 in Luzon per kilowatt-hour (kWh), P1.3545 per kWh in the Visayas, and P22.54 centavos per kWh in Mindanao.

Reportedly, these petitions are covered by Napocor's application for the 15th installment of the generation rate adjustment mechanism (Gram) and the 14th installment of the incremental currency exchange rate adjustment (Icera) charges.

Gram is a quarterly adjustment mechanism that allows utilities to recover costs associated with fuel and purchased power, while the Icera allows for the recovery of foreign exchange-related costs.

Napocor is seeking to recover costs for the period April to June 2009 which involves P3.23 billion in deferred fuel, and independent power producer costs in Luzon; P202.9 million in the Visayas; and P245 million in Mindanao, a broadsheet reported.

It added that once the ERC approves the applications, the new generation (15th Gram) and foreign exchange (14th Icera) charges will replace the current charges being implemented in the three main grids.

Except for Mindanao, which Napocor has already fully recovered these costs, to date, it is implementing the 12th Gram charges in Luzon, ninth Gram in the Visayas while 11th Icera and eighth in Luzon and Visayas, respectively.

Joint venture

Five companies have expressed interest to enter into partnership with state-run Napocor for the development of renewable energy projects.

These companies include the Sta. Clara Power Corp., the Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC)-Renewables Corp., Enertine, Clenergen and Pamatec/Vergnet Group.

Sta. Clara Power Corp is looking at building small hydrolocigal plant, as well as Kepco, while PNOC Renewables is planning to build solar power projects.

Enertine and Clenergen were both interested to put up a biomass project in the country while the Pamatec/Vergnet Group are planning to construct wind and diesel power facilities.

The Pamatec/Vergnet group-based in France is engaged in the manufacturing, design, markets and installs innovative devices for wind power generation projects.

He said these projects are intended for their Small Power Utilities Group (Spug).

Napocor is mandated by law to undertake the electrification of areas not connected to the main transmission grid, also referred to as Missionary Areas.

Spug is committed to bring power as a catalyst for development to the farthest, smallest and remotest areas and islands in the country.

To recall, Napocor is seeking at least P4 billion to fund the rehabilitation, maintenance as well as operations and expansion projects for Spug. (With Sunnex)