Senator Win Gatchalian told the Energy Regulatory Commission to demand a refund from the Visayan Electric Company if it can be proven their charges were unjustifiable.
If it will be proven that a violation has been committed because of its high cost of electricity, Gatchalian said ERc should press for a refund.
“It is the mandate of the ERC to protect the interest of the ng public especially if there were abuses,” Gatchalian said.
He said the January 4, 2021 directive issued by the ERC to VECO demanding an explanation on the high cost of electricity specifically citing that from January to October 2020, the power purchases made from Cebu Private Power Corp. (CPPC) averaged at P35.3853 per kilowatt hour with generation rate spiking significantly high at P1,470.90 per kwh for the month of September last year.
The senator also took note of Section 23 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act specifying that distribution utilities, VECO included, have the obligation to supply electricity in the least cost manner to its captive market.
CPPC is just one of the four independent power producers supplying the energy requirements to VECO.
The other three are Green Core Geothermal Inc., Cebu Energy Development Corporation and Therma Visayas Inc. whose power purchases averaged only at P5.5584 per kwh, P4.8922 per kw and P5.6821 per kh respectively, from January to October 2020.
ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes Devanadera directed VECO to explain its high electricity rates last year and its perceived violation of Section 45 (b) of the EPIRA, which provides that “no participant in the electricity industry or any other person may engage in any anti-competitive behavior including, but not limited to, cross-subsidization, price or market manipulation, or other unfair trade practices”.
The ERC acted on the complaint made by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce Inc. (CCCI) last December, coursed through the Regional Development Council in Central Visayas, claiming that the high cost of electricity is proving to be a major stumbling block in boosting the business competitiveness of the region.