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[ Cotabato ] Socoteco II ups rates


Monday, May 18, 2009 [ sunstar.com.ph ]

By Edwin G. Espejo

CONSUMERS of South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) will start to feel the pinch of higher power rates when their bill comes out this month.

Socoteco II announced it will already incorporate the 71-centavo power rate hike imposed by the National Power Corporation (Napocor) in the April consumption of its customers.

As of 2007, Socoteco II is serving 100,650 residential consumers within its franchise area, which covers the city of General Santos, all of Sarangani, and the towns of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

In the same year, residential users ate up 177,485,493 kilowatt hours or a monthly average consumption of 147 kilowatt hours per consumer.

Socoteco II institutional development manager Jerry Desesto said residential consumers will be hardest hit by the rate increase.

"Commercial and industrial users will also likely pass on the rate increase to their clients and consumers," Desesto added.

According to the 2007 records of Socoteco II, commercial users of the cooperative totaled 5,858 while industrial consumers numbered 184 companies.

General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry president John Ced declined to issue any statement on the rate hike.

He said they are still to be informed by Socoteco II of the added billing for April.

Early this year, the energy Regulatory Commission approved the petition of Napocor to hike its power rates.

The Napocor basic rate hike approved by ERC is P0.47 per kilowatt hour for Luzon, P1.14 per kWh for Visayas, and P0.71 kWh in Mindanao.

Socoteco II buys the bulk of its power supply from Napocor.

In March, Socoteco II entered into a memorandum of agreement with new entrant Conal Holdings Corporation for the purchase of power supply reportedly at a lower cost.

Conal Holdings Corp., which announced it will build a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani early this year, said consumers of Socoteco II will likely save as much a P1 per kilowatt hour once they start commissioning its power plant sometime in 2012.

Conal Holdings project manager Gregorio S. Gonzales said consumers will save on transmission cost and systems losses when their plant starts generating power.

"By connecting our power plant directly to Socoteco II, we can immediately cut electricity costs as we will do away with transmission and systems loss charges," Gonzales said in an earlier statement.

Last year, Transmission Corporation Mindanao (Transco), now National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, added an average of P1.42 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for transmission charge and another P0.60 for systems losses to the cost of electricity on top of the P2.54 generation cost, according to Gonzales.

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