Napocor seeking another round of power-rate hikes

By Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo, Reporter

CONSUMERS should brace for new round of increases in electricity bills after state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) filed another petition before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) seeking to raise its generation and foreign exchange charges for its Luzon customers.

Among Napocor’s biggest clients is Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which distributes electricity to 70 percent of the Luzon grid.

Napocor recently filed for its 10th Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) and 9th Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment (ICERA) applications. The GRAM and ICERA are components of the Deferred Accounting Adjustments (DAA) in Napocor’s power rates, as required by the ERC.

Collectively, these filings, if approved, will result in an increase of P0.1821 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon and P0.4533 per kilowatt-hour in the Visayas. In Mindanao, any adjustment will result in a decrease of P0.3625 per kilowatt-hour.

The said petitions are aimed at allowing Napocor to recover the incremental fuel, foreign exchange rate fluctuation and other costs arising from its reliance on independent power producers to augment supply. The state-owned company incurred these costs from January 2007 to April 2008.

These applications come on the heels of a recent ERC order approving the 9th GRAM and 8th ICERA of a P0.7116 per kilowatt-hour and P0.0246 per kilowatt-hour reduction in Luzon and Mindanao, respectively, and an increase of P0.1591 per kilowatt-hour in the Visayas.

Should the new applications be approved by the regulator, the 10th GRAM and 9th ICERA will replace the existing 9th GRAM and 8th ICERA in Napocor’s DAA billing components.

Earlier, Napocor said that power rates will remain stable until 2009 despite a separate application—filed June 3, 2008—to adjust its basic generation rate by P0.3700 per kilowatt-hour.

The state-owned company had said the petition to adjust its basic generation rates is in line with the privatization of a number of its cheap-running power plants such as its hydro and coal facilities.

Cyril Del Callar, Napocor president, said that any adjustment in the company’s basic rate will likely be tempered by it’s pending GRAM and ICERA petitions, adding its rate will hover at the current P3.3567 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon, P2.9934 per kilowatt-hour in the Visayas, and P2.6695 per kilowatt-hour in Mindanao, for the remainder of this year.(ManilaTimes)

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