STATE-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) on Thursday assured that there will be no power rate increases in missionary or off-grid areas being served by its Small Power Utilities Group this Christmas season.
Napocor President and chief executive officer Ma. Gladys Cruz-Santa Rita said it will take at least one year before any petition may be acted upon by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Santa Rita explained that any petition has to undergo several public hearings before getting endorsed and approved by the ERC.
She said Napocor normally files its rate adjustment petition every year to recover adjustments in fuel costs and dollar exchange but it is not automatically or immediately approved.
“With ERC’s intervention, there is hardly an increase in the rates granted to Napocor. It is usually spread out over several years,” according to her.
Santa Rita said the ERC-approved basic fuel cost that Napocor is collecting from its power consumers is still based on 2003 oil price level.
“So imagine the huge difference in dollar and fuel rates,” she added.
Santa Rita said in the past 10 years, basic power rates that Napocor is collecting from its missionary or off-grid areas remained the same.
Napocor has filed the 13th Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) and Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustments (ICERA) before the ERC amounting to an average of P1.87 per kilowatt hour for January-June 2014.
“Let me reiterate that these are actual adjustments in allowable fuel cost based on ERC Heat Rate Cap and dollar exchange,” Santa Rita said.
She added that GRAM and ICERA are the only ERC-approved adjustment mechanisms that Napocor can tap to recover its incurred costs brought by fuel and foreign exchange adjustments in its missionary operations.
Moreover, Napocor’s applications will undergo public hearings and all interested parties can participate by filing interventions or oppositions.
The ERC, as the power industry’s regulatory body, reserves the right to approve or disapprove the collection of the GRAM and ICERA adjustments.
Santa Rita said operational funds of Napocor do not come from the National Government.
Napocor, she added, would welcome participatio n of lawmakers and other sectors in ensuring that power services in the off-grid areas are maintained and well-served.