‘Mu­rang Kuryente’ law to ben­e­fit 190,000 Ceneco consumers

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ER­WIN P. NI­CAV­ERA

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.

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