ENERGY Regulatory Commission (ERC) has granted Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) a provisional authority to implement a revised rate schedule.

The schedule fell under the Rules for Setting Electric Cooperatives’ Wheeling Rates (RSEC-WR) and was made effective on the billing period of January this year.

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Zamcelco General Manager Reinerio Ramos said they received the ERC Order on January 29, approving the Application for Approval of an Adjustment in Rates under the RSEC-WR methodology, which Zamcelco filed with the Commission on November 9, 2009.

In the RSEC-WR clustering scheme, Ramos said that Zamcelco, together with five other electric cooperatives in the country, was categorized as Group “G” EC.

Its Operating Revenue Requirement (ORR) per kilowatt hour (KWH) or Rates Cap is pegged at an average of P0.6900 per KWH for distribution, supply and metering charges or “DSM” costs, Ramos said.

In the same order, Group “G” electric cooperatives were also given the authority to collect Members’ Contribution for Capital Expenditure (MCCE) amounting to P0.1518 per KWH for all customer classes that had likewise been reclassified into Residential, Low Voltage and High Voltage Customers in agreement to the RSEC-WR.

“The cooperative will implement the Rate Caps on a 50-50 percent basis during the three-year Regulatory Transition Period; hence, the provisionally authorized Revised Rates Schedule will be reflected in customers’ bills starting the February 2010 billing cycle,” Ramos said.

“By January 2011 to January 2012, the proposed Revised Rates Schedule shall have been fully or 100 percent implemented,” Ramos added.

He explained that for instance, based on the existing electric rates, the total DSM charges amount to P116.33 for a Residential Customer with 100-KWH consumption billed in January 2010. With the implementation of the RSEC-WR, the DSM charges will now amount to P112.41 on top of the Members Contribution for Capital Expenditure (MCC) of P15.18 per KWH or a total of P127.59.

He said the government expanded value added tax (e-VAT) is also adjusted correspondingly.

“Hence, the total amount due for a 100 KWH before is P531.30, while with the RSEC-WR implementation the same 100-KWH will amount to 543.92 or an additional bill of P12.62.

He said it should be noted that the charges in the electric bill affected with the implementation of the RSEC-WR are only the distribution charge, supply charge, metering charge, and, the e-VAT.

He said the MCC is a new rate component under the new rate methodology of the ERC in lieu of the previous five percent Re-investment Fund intended in the procurement of materials and equipment for Operations and Maintenance.

The new RSEC-WR methodology, on the other hand, is designed to ensure efficiency in the overall system operations of the electric cooperative.

In granting the provisional authority, Ramos said the ERC banked on Zamcelco’s application that was found to be consistent to the RSEC-WR requirements.

The requirements included the conduct of a Public Consultation on June 19, 2009 held at Zamcelco’s Multi-purpose Building, and that the Revised Rates Schedule are just and reasonable based on the documents submitted by the cooperative to the Commission.

“In the event the commission finds that the rate adjustment provisionally authorized is excessive or insufficient after the conduct of a final hearing to be scheduled by the ERC, and where interested parties may manifest their clarifications and other related queries, the amount corresponding to the difference shall be accordingly refunded or collected in a manner to be determined by the Commission,” Ramos said. (Bong Garcia)