by Juzel L. Danganan, Philippine News Agency | Monday, 20 June 2016
The National Power Corporation (Napocor) warned federalism could trigger higher power rates in Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) areas.
“The problem will lie in the universal charge for missionary electrification, right now there are two sources of revenue: electric cooperatives and the universal charge. The universal charge is collected from the entire country,” Napocor president and chief executive office Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita said in an exclusive interview.
Under federalism, she noted that the power rates of areas under SPUG power plants, located in off-grid areas, will increase.
“If you slice it, the universe will be gone. So the rates will shoot up in each region…,” Sta. Rita said.
The UCME is charged from all grid-connected customers through their monthly power bills.
The Napocor president cited the SPUG areas in MIMAROPA and Bangsamoro will be among those that will have higher rates. However, she said the Malampaya fund and the fund from Lake Lanao could be set to replace the subsidy.
Sta. Rita stressed the true cost of generation rates in the SPUG areas could increase up to PHP12 per kilowatthour (kWh), which is double from the current payment of electric cooperatives at PHP6 per kWh.
“You should be able to match that, because you can’t increase the rate right away. Perhaps little by little, so that the people will not feel it right away because it’s huge,” she added.
The National Power Corporation is mandated to electrify off-grid areas through SPUG power plants and manage the watersheds of the country. (PNA)