By Ellson Quismorio
Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate has slammed the National Power Corporation (Napocor) for potentially adding to the burden of consumers by applying for an increase in missionary generation charge before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Missionary charge refers to the cost associated with the provision of basic electricity service in unviable areas with the ultimate aim of bringing the operations in these areas to viability levels.
Zarate, a Deputy Minority leader in the House of Representatives, said Napocor’s application could result to a P0.1948 per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate hike for national consumers.
“In concrete terms, these charges for households consuming 200 kwh per month would mean an increase of P38.96 on their Universal Charges-Missionary Electrification (UC-ME), P58.44 for 300 kWh households, and P77.92 for 400 kWh households,” he said.
“Also these additional charges would further compound the effect of the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law and would be another burden to our already-suffering consumers,” added the Davao-based solon.
The 2018 law increased excise taxes on petroleum, which impacts the cost of power generation.
“What’s worse is that Napocor again applied to the ERC to increase the missionary generation charge in off-grid islands in Luzon by a total of P2.9140/kWh. The application will raise the charge to P8.5544/kWh from P5.6404/kWh,” Zarate said.
In its new application, Napocor also wanted to pass on the added excise taxes on fuel being used to generate power in off-grid islands at P1.9648/kWh to consumers.
“This is on top of its previous application for an increase of P0.9492/kWh, bringing the total increase to P2.9140/kWh,” noted the ranking House member.
“These abuses of missionary subsidies are apparently the result of the collective neglect of the DOE (Department of Energy), Napocor, and ERC for allowing anomalous manipulation of the power supply contracting process.
“These are done through unsolicited proposals and Swiss challenge biddings, which award ill-conceived projects to favored suppliers at onerous, apparently even anomalous, terms and conditions,” Zarate explained.