April 23, 2006

With ERC-approved power rate hike
INEC to push through with mini-hydro rehab
Possible rate reduction seen

Following the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the National Transmission Corporation’s (Transco) maximum annual revenue (MAR) application which would effectively raise power rates in the province, officials of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) are set to rehabilitate the mini-hydro power plants in Barangays Mabugabog and Pansian in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte as a means to somehow reduce power rates.

INEC officials though clarify that the power rate hike would still not be implemented as there are still no implementing guidelines from the ERC. Based on INEC computation, the increase is estimated at P0.15 per kilowatt-hour.

According to INEC Board of Directors President Rey Ruiz, they are presently looking into the possibility of pushing through with the proposed rehabilitation of the hydro power plants as this is seen as a way of countermanding the effects of the ERC-set rate increase.

In view of this, Ruiz said they have invited interested parties to bid for the rehabilitation project. Two proponents have tendered their offers with INEC initially saying that the Garcia proposal was the better of the two.

Ruiz however said that a feasibility study would still be undertaken and the approval of the ERC would also be sought.

If these projects are realized, Ruiz said that a power rate reduction may be expected.

The project, Ruiz added, would be a build-operate-own scheme.

The project would be financed from the cooperative’s savings. An application for a loan from financial institutions is also being studies since the project would be self-liquidating.

Another reason for the project that Ruiz mentioned is to prepare INEC for the possibility of other power companies coming to Ilocos Norte.

The said projects would also augment the current 30 percent of power being supplied by the Northwind Corporation. The remaining 70 percent of the province’s power needs are being supplied by the National Power Corporation.

Meanwhile, INEC General Manager Romillas C. Pascual has expressed his agreement with the projects saying this would help member-consumers in terms of reducing power rates.

Pascual added that he believes in two to three-months time, the proposed project would already have some developments.

Kayat na nga sawen a saan nga ti INEC iti kangrunaan kuma a mababalaw no adda man panag-ngato iti bayad iti kuryente ta dakami laeng ket para singir ket sumursurot kami laeng no anyaman iti iyetnag a desisyon ti ERC (It means that INEC should not be the first to be blamed whenever there are rate increases as we are only the collecting agent and we only follow the decisions made by the ERC),” Pascual said.

Pascual then reiterated that INEC has never applied for any power rate increase since he was named the GM of the cooperative.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

Other related earlier story:
Power rate hike set as ERC OKs Transco cap application

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