‘Murang Kuryente’ law to benefit 190,000 Ceneco consumers
THE just-signed law mandating the use of the P208-billion Malampaya fund to pay off a debt that has been passed on to consumers as “universal charges” will benefit about 190,000 member-consumers of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco).
The power distribution utility (DU) caters to the largest number of electric consumers in Negros Occidental particularly in cities of Bacolod, Bago, Talisay and Silay, and towns of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto.
These consumers are on top of those catered by other cooperatives namely Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative (Noceco) and Northern Negros Electric Cooperative (Noneco).
On August 8, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11371, or the Murang Kuryente Act, mandating the use of the Malampaya fund to pay the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) “stranded costs” and “stranded debts” transferred to and assumed by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).
Engineer Norman Pollentes, officer-in-charge corporate planning manager of Ceneco, said the consumers of the cooperative are part of those who have been paying the stranded charges being paid to Napocor.
The law defines “stranded contract costs” as the excess of the contract cost of electricity under eligible independent power producer contracts that have been approved by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERC) as of December 31, 2000.
The “stranded debts,” on the other hand, are Napocor’s unpaid financial obligations which have not been liquidated by the proceeds from the government corporation’s sales and privatization of assets.
Based on Ceneco’s electricity bill, the “stranded debts” being passed on to its member-consumers is P0.0428 per kilowatt hour (kwh) while the “stranded costs” is P0.0543 per kwh.
If a household, for instance, averagely consumes 200 kwh per month, it pays an additional P8.56 for “stranded debts” and P10.86 in “stranded costs” or a total of P19.42.
The total amount varies depending on the power consumption of consumers. If a household consumes more than 200 kwh monthly, the “stranded charges” it pays are also higher.
Pollentes said such amount will be deducted from the consumers’ monthly bill as the Malampaya fund will act as a subsidy once the law takes effect.
“As to how much will be deducted, it has yet to pass through a rate case,” he said, adding that Ceneco will also wait for an order from the ERC as to the implementation of the measure.
The law states that it is hereby declared the policy of the State to protect public interest by ensuring the provision of reliable, secure, and affordable supply of electric power to consumers.
“Towards this end, the State shall implement policies and programs to ensure transparent and reasonable prices of electricity to consumers by minimizing the universal charges for stranded costs and stranded debts,” it added.
PSALM, in a statement, said the signing of the law would unburden power consumers from paying additional universal charge that could possibly amount to P0.86 per kwh.
For families consuming an average of 200 kwh
this translates to P2,064 savings from reduced electricity cost per year.
Meanwhile, the other measure signed by the President is seen to lessen power interruptions in the province.
RA 11361, or the Anti-obstruction of Power Lines Act, mandates the “continuous and uninterrupted” transmission and distribution of electricity to consumers nationwide to prevent power outages.
The law requires that the power line corridor must be kept clear and free from any power line obstructions, dangerous structures, hazardous activities and improvements, and other similar circumstances.
Pollentes said power line obstruction is one of the common causes of brownouts among Ceneco-serviced areas.
Some owners of obstructing structures and even trees resist from clearing them from the distribution lines, Pollentes said.
“But with this law, however, we can already remove it right away resulting in lesser chances of power interruptions,” he added.
The law states that the State further recognizes that the continuous conveyance of electricity is a matter of national security and is essential to sustaining the country’s economic development.
It acknowledges the crucial role of property owners in ensuring that power lines remain free of any dangerous and hazardous activities and improvements, it added.
Any individuals found to have violated RA 11361 will face a fine of up to P200,000 and imprisonment of up to 12 years./epn (With reports from Sunstar Philippines)
THE two new laws are seen to benefit about 190,000 member-consumers of Central Negros Electric Cooperative and will lessen power interruptions in the province.