Group airs concern on power rate hike in Zamcelco-TMI load deal PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 13:47

Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Foundation Inc. president Pocholo Soliven said his group has filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a motion to intervene in the hearing relative to the application of Zamcelco for the possible purchase of additional power from Therma-Marine Incorporated (TMI).

Soliven stressed that his group is not opposing any plan by Zamcelco to buy additional power from an Independent power producer but is only concerned on its rate impact that would be passed on to member consumers.

In a hastily called meeting last Friday with Zamcelco officials and board members at Zamcelco office, Soliven bluntly said that the business sector has never opposed Zamcelco’s proposal.

“We are just very much concerned about the possible rate increase,” he pointed out.

Zamcelco Project Supervisor Engineer Jesus Castro had earlier said that based on the signed contract between Zamcelco and TMI, the proposed rate which will eventually be passed on to member consumers is more or less an additional 90 centavo per kilowatt hour.

However, this rate is not yet fixed and that is why, ERC is now evaluating everything so as to establish the right and affordable rate that TMI may charge from Zamcelco, Castro explained.

“Everything is not yet final. We are happy that no less than Mayor Celso Lobregat wanted the hearing to be conducted as soon as possible,” Castro said
The following day, a separate meeting with the business sector, industrial group, Zamcelco officials and other stakeholders was called by Mayor Lobregat in which the increasing hour of blackouts  was discussed.

It was indeed a fruitful meeting because everybody was given the chance to speak and give their suggestions on how to solve the problem that has already earned the ire of Zamboangueños.
In the said meeting, no one from among the invited stakeholders manifested their objection to the purchase of additional power for the city.
However, Lobregat clarified that the purchase of power from TMI is not the permanent solution of the problem stressing that among others the need for the city to have its own based-load power like the putting up of sources like the coal fired power plant and probably other renewable sources of energy.
Meanwhile, Zamcelco officials also made it clear that the amount of power that will be bought from TMI would still not be able to meet the power demand of Zamboanga City, which means, blackouts would still be experienced by the populace but relatively lesser.
At present, a three to four-hour long blackout a day is being experienced by all Zamcelco member consumers. Worse, Zamcelco is projecting a sixto eight-hour blackout a day by April 2012. — Jimmy Villaflores