BENECO’s power rate will increase after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granted a petition of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) to recover a P2.6-billion “shortfall” in rural electrification subsidies dating back to 2012.
According to BENECO General Melchor Licober, “the ERC has directed ALL Electric Cooperatives, including Benguet Electric Cooperative, to collect from the member-consumer-owners the UC-ME true-up rate amounting to PhP0.0239/kWh on top of the existing UC-ME basic rate of PhP0.1561/kWh.”
The UC-ME rate that we will see in our bills starting September will be 0.18 percent.
“The ERC directed all distribution utilities and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to collect from consumers the UC-ME true-up rate,” Licoben said. “We will be implementing the NPC/PSALM proposed recovery scheme for the additional Universal Charge- Missionary Electrification as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission in an Order dated August 4, 2022, pursuant to the ERC CASE No. 2013-191.”
The BENECO advisory explained that “the UC-ME charge is the Missionary Electrification Subsidy provided to Distribution Utilities and LGUs that are “off-grid” or not connected to the transmission lines and subsequently rely only on diesel-powered generator sets. The subsidy was meant to help the energization of the islands.”
Section 70 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9136) tasked Napocor with performing “the missionary electrification function through the Small Power Utilities Group [and making it] responsible for providing power generation and its associated power delivery systems in areas that are not connected to the transmission system.”
This additional charge refers to the Shortfall in the Universal Charge -Missionary Electrification Subsidy for 2012. This Shortfall means that the Actual collection on 2012 of UC-ME charges from all consumers was not sufficient to subsidize the Power requirements of the islands’ serviceable areas. Thus, ERC allowed the recovery of the shortfall.
“This additional charge will be shown in the electric bills effective September 2022 billing cycle as part of the pass through rates in the UC-ME NPC-SPUG Line item,” said Licoben.