CAGAYAN de Oro City Council is set to review the application of Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (Cepalco) for a power rate hike that is set to take effect on 2012.

Councilor President Elipe, chairperson of the City Council committee on energy, proposed during Monday's session that a resolution be issued for the review.

Elipe said Cepalco filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) an application for a rate increase for its ancillary services in 2008 to upgrade its system, such as the purchase of more generator sets and new transmission lines to provide better service to its consumers in the city.

During the session, most of the city councilors who were present expressed disgust over the planned rate increase of Cepalco.

Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said consumers already suffered from the increases imposed for the past two months by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Power Corporation (Napocor), causing their pockets "to bleed."

He said the NGCP has again announced it is requesting for another increase in two months time.

With this, he called on Elipe's committee to study carefully and further evaluate Cepalco's application.

Councilor Edgar Cabanlas agreed with Nacaya, citing that among all the areas in Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro is paying the highest energy rate.

But Elipe said it is only fair to consider the application of Cepalco, citing that "almost all things have been increasing" and that the recent power rate increase did not came from Cepalco but NGCP and Napocor.

"If they have a valid reason for an increase, then we will give it to them," Elipe said.

With the approval of the councilors, the City Council would hire an ad hoc committee from the private sectors, like the academe, to monitor the activity of the power companies operating in the city, following the patterns in Manila where private sectors are active in monitoring every details of Meralco's operation, resulting in consumers getting reimbursements.

In reviewing Cepalco's application, the council's committee on energy would also include the committee on commerce and trade, as well as the barangay affairs during the meeting to get additional feedback from the business sector. (Nicole J. Managbanag)