Power rate increase looms in Zambo City PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 January 2012 17:20

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) has filed an application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)  to determine the possible rate increase, that is in addition to the present rate, should the contract it entered with a diesel-run power source TMI (Therma Marine Inc.) materialize.

An additional of 18 to 20 megawatts is needed in order to supply the load capacity that the city needs due to the shortage of power supply from its present source in Iligan City.

Four to five hours blackout a day is expected in the coming months since ERC needs at least three months to study the supposed rate that TMI should collect from Zamcelco in exchange of the 18 to 20 megawatts,  according to Acting General Manager and Zamcelco Project Supervisor Jesus Castro.

“We have already sent our application to ERC since it is within their authority to decide as to the amount that should be passed on to the member consumers,” Castro said as he explained the need to immediately purchase additional current from the sole independent power producer that has offered it service to the city’s electric cooperative.

Castro said that TMI has offered 92 centavos per kilowatt hour but the so-called impact-rate would still be determined by ERC after a series of public hearings.

In Mindanao, at least seven electric cooperatives are at present purchasing power from TMI of about 42 centavos per kilowatt hour in addition to their present rate.

Most likely, the same amount will be decided by ERC for Zamcelco, said Castro.

Should industrial factories like the canning firms in the City start its operation in March this year,  Zamboanga will most likely experience four to five hours brownout a day, Castro added.

“To avoid this thing to happen, we really have to purchase power from TMI and if the public sees its rate as expensive, I ask oppositors to present other power source that is selling lower price than TMI,” Castro stressed.

Meanwhile, Castro blamed the Industrial Group of Zamboanga for opposing Zamcelco’s desire to buy power from an IPP (Independent Power Producer).
“They blocked us from doing so because they wanted to know first the exact amount that should be added into the present rate. How can we give them the exact figure since it’s the ERC that will determine the amount? But hopefully, the member consumers will now understand the need for us to purchase additional electric current,” Castro said.
Under the terms and conditions, Zamcelco will buy power from TMI for the period of three years but the contract is renewable every year, Castro  explained. — Jimmy Villaflores