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Palawan residents face more power rate hikes in March

Palawan residents are facing higher electricity rates amid the scheduled expiry of the power supply agreement between the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) and Palawan Power Generation Inc. (PPCGI). 

According to Bernadette Reyes’ “24 Oras” report on Wednesday, power rates in the province currently stand at P14 per kilowatt hour (kWH) — a jump from the previous P7 per kWH. 

However, an additional P2 to P3 may be imposed on the electricity costs in March as Paleco eyes to purchase at least 7.2 MW of electricity supply under an emergency power supply agreement to fulfill its expected deficit following the expiry of its agreement with the PPCGI. 

“Napirmahan na noong January 12 ‘yung ating ang emergency power supply agreement sa isang independent power provider for 15 MW,” said Paleco Information Officer Maria Janelle Rebusada. 

(We signed an  emergency power supply agreement with an independent power provider last Jan. 12 for an additional 15 MW.) 

The Department of Energy (DOE) said electricity supplies purchased under an emergency power supply agreement are not entitled to subsidies. 

For its part, Paleco said they were forced to agree with the terms because the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered them to stop buying electricity from their previous supplier. 

“’Yung ating original power supply agreement with Delta P ay pinahinto ang implementation ng Energy Regulatory Commission,” said Rebusada.

(We were ordered to stop purchasing with Delta P.)

GMA Integrated News reached out to the ERC for comment. 

Meanwhile, the DOE said they were studying how to amend the policy.

“The existing policy natin nga is non-entitlement to any form of subsidy. We are revisiting that policy ano ba talaga dapat gawin. If we find na meron sufficient basis tayo then the policy can be sabihin natin, revised, amended,” said DOE Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan. 

(The existing policy is non-entitlement to any form of subsidy. We are revisiting that policy. If we find that there is a sufficient basis, then we can amend it.)

“Hindi sila nag conduct appropriately ng competitive selection process when the DOE issued its advisory way back in 2019,” he said. 

(They did not conduct a competitive selection process when  the DOE issued its advisory way back in 2019.) —Sundy Locus/Jiselle Anne Casucian/LDF, GMA Integrated News