GOOD news for most electric consumers in the province as the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) announced a P1.17 per kilowatt hour (kWh) reduction in its residential rate for January 2022.

The power distribution utility's residential rate for January 2022 is P7.60 per kWh, lower than P8.78 per kWh in December 2021.

Ceneco caters to electric consumers in cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay and towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.

Its acting manager, Engineer Jose Taniongon, in a virtual forum Thursday, January 20, said decreases in generation, transmission and systems loss charges have driven down the residential rates of the cooperative.

The implementation of August 2021 Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm) power bill reduction amounting to P183.225 million due to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) letter on September 2021 to mitigate the impact of the outage caused by the damaged Cebu-Negros submarine cable also contributed to the reduction, he added.

The adjustment came after the requests made by electric cooperatives in Western Visayas, including Ceneco, as well as local government units (LGUs) amid the surging market price, especially during the second half of last year.

Ceneco reported that the submarine cable bill adjustment resulted in a rate difference of P2.6895 per kWh.

Without the Wesm adjustment, the generation rate for January 2022 could reached P6.7786 per kWh instead of only P4.0891 per kWh, it added.

In fact, adjustments were also implemented in the previous billing months.

The June 2021 adjustment bill amounting to P11.29 million translating to a reduction of P0.1465 per kWh in the generation charge incurred by the cooperative was implemented in November 2021.

In December 2021, a reduction of P1.0355 per kWh in the generation charge because of the July 2021 adjustment bill, still due to ERC September 20, 2021 ERC letter, amounting to P85.04 million.

"Categorically, we cannot know yet if there are incoming adjustments since Ceneco only receives such from the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC)," the utility said.

It added that "the cooperative will surely implement if there are adjustments but if not, we can expect that our rate will go back to its normal cost."

Other reasons for the decrease in January 2022 residential rate included the implementation of over and under recovery decision with ERC Case 2021-031 for the next 12 months, implementation of the relocatable power taps (RPT) recovery amounting to P12.5 million, as well as other pass-through charges such as lifeline, senior and value added tax (VAT).

Taniongon also said that the pass-through charges for this month's billing equivalent to P6.4124 per kWh of the total power rate included the generation, transmission, systems loss charges, ERC-approved adjustments, government subsidies and taxes.

Only P1.1866 per kWh of the power rate goes to Ceneco through Distribution, Supply, Metering (DSM) charges and Reinvestment Fund for Sustainable Capital Expenditure Program (RFSC-Capex) for its administrative and operational services.

Since 2010, Ceneco's DSM and RFSC rate has not increased, a statement from the firm said, adding that, for every kilowatt hour consumed by residential consumers, roughly 10 to 14 percent of the total bill amount goes to Ceneco, he added.

Meanwhile, Ceneco reported that they have fully restored 99.32 percent of the total number of households it covers as of January 19, 2022 following the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

In Bago City, for instance, the cooperative eyes 100 percent restoration within Thursday. In Talisay, the restoration is at 99 percent.

Ceneco targets to fully restore power for the entire areas it covers within this week.

"Next week, we will join the Task Force Kapatid to assist in the restoration efforts in areas covered by Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative (Noceco)," it said.

The power distribution utility reported P21 million worth of damage due to the typhoon.