The Benguet Electric Cooperative’s electricity rates went down this month, thanks to a recent meeting of the minds between the cooperative’s management and Team Phil. Energy Corp. (TPEC) to find means to reduce the monthly tariff for consumers.
The Beneco rate of ₱ 9.6346 per kilowatt hour (kwh) in Sept. is now down to ₱ 9.2677/kwh this month or a reduction of ₱ 0.3669/kwh. This means that residential consumers who paid ₱ 936.46 last month will now pay ₱ 927.70 for the use of 100 kwh of electricity.
Melchor Licoben said the key to the reduction was TPEC’s nod to Beneco’s request that the power supply contract that pegged the generation cost to the price of coal in the global market be reviewed.
Though a new deal has yet to be finalized, TPEC has offered a rate of ₱ 4.95/kwh which is ₱ 0.87/kWh cheaper than the generation charge for October which is supposed to be ₱ 5.8155/kwh following the existing contract terms.
TPEC is Beneco’s power supplier. Its coal fed plant in Sual, Pangasinan supplies the electric cooperative’s power demand for more than 130,000 residential and commercial member consumer owners.
The generation component of the monthly bill is collected from consumers to pay the power supplied by TPEC.
The uptrend in the cost of coal in the global market has significantly affected the generation cost of Beneco since TPEC’s generation facility is coal dependent.
Rowina Damian, Beneco’s rate analyst, said the increase in coal price has caused the increase in generation charge since January this year to the frustration of member consumers who are still grappling with the impact of the pandemic.
“The deal with Team is yet to be finalized but it agreed to effect for this month the reduced generation cost,” she said.
Licoben was all praises for TPEC.
“Our existing contract with Team was very favorable to Beneco at the time it was signed. But when the economy started to rebound this year following months of lockdown, the price of coal skyrocketed due to the increase in demand. This pushed high our generation cost,” he said.
“Good that TPEC heard our plea to review the reference point of our current power supply contract since our consumers are already complaining of increasing rates,” he said.
Licoben said TPEC’s openness for price renegotiation avoided what could have been a continuing surge in generation cost until the first quarter of 2022.
Low voltage and high voltage customers will also enjoy a reduction this Oct. of ₱ 0.3541/kwh and ₱ 0.4203/kwh, respectively.
(Delmar Cariño, photo courtesy by Joseph Manzano)