Benitez seeks putting price cap in electricity rates

All three electric cooperatives in Negros Occidental attribute the power rate increases for April 2022 to the hike in fuel prices. Their respective consumers may expect about P0.50 per kilowatt hour hike. (Contributed Photo)
All three electric cooperatives in Negros Occidental attribute the power rate increases for April 2022 to the hike in fuel prices. Their respective consumers may expect about P0.50 per kilowatt hour hike. (Contributed Photo)

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez has asked Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin on Monday, May 20, if they can provide guidelines for putting a price cap on electricity rates.

This is after several electric consumers, not only in Bacolod City but also in the neighboring cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental, experienced unexpectedly high electric bills in April.

Benitez said that, like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a certain calamity, they also put up a price freeze on the commodities.

“So based on the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) Law, there’s also a provision that allows the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to put a price ceiling or price cap. So, I asked the DOE to give me the guidelines on how we can trigger the price cap in the electricity rates,” he said.

He added that it’s more about making the ERC aware that Bacolod is experiencing a calamity because of the drought.

Once a price cap is implemented, the mayor said that the electricity rates will not exceed the access rate.

“It’s only a temporary price ceiling, and it’s not only in Ceneco, if they can do it nationwide, why not?” he said.

On Monday, May 20, the Senate approved House Bill No. 9805 which granted a franchise to the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).

The scope of the franchise covers the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Talisay, along with the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

The majority of the member-consumers of Central Negros Electric Cooperative earlier approved the joint venture agreement between NEPC and Ceneco.

Benitez said that even before the enactment of the franchise, NEPC had sent teams here to assist Ceneco with the repairs.*

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