By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
POWER RATES in Iloilo City have gone down by more than 60 centavos per kilowatt-hour in the last two months due to decreases in generation rates.
Panay Electric Co. vice president for operations Randy Pastolero said latest billings from Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) and Panay Power Corp. (PPC) show a total reduction of 66 centavos since June 2012.
“The reduction is due to lower generation rates or cost of producing power from our suppliers. And consumers can expect more reduction in next billing cycle,” Pastolero said.
Pastolero said lower coal prices in the world market also reduced the PEDC’s cost which translated to lower generation rates. If a consumer uses 100 kilowatts of electricity, he/she has saved P66 in the last two months.
In May 2012, Peco’s overall average rate for residential consumers hit the P12/kWh mark but with the recent reduction, rates have gone down to P11.47/kWh.
Peco has a minimum contracted energy of 65 megawatts from PEDC and another 15MW from PPC for a total of 80MW.
But latest reports from Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) which owns PEDC and PPC, show that Peco has been consuming a little over 80MW due to sudden increase in demand.
The main factor for the sudden increase in demand is the construction boom in Iloilo City and its suburbs.
Pastolero said recent talks with land developer Megaworld Corp. indicate that the firm wants Peco to supply 6MW its project at the old Iloilo airport property.
Megaworld intends to put up the 12-storey Richmonde Hotel and Richmonde Tower which will host business processes outsourcing firms.
“Megaworld anticipates that the 6MW demand will double between 2013 and 2014 when the buildings are up and their stakeholders are operating in the area. We are sure that our contract with PEDC and PPC will not be enough thus we have to act fast. The key here is timing as it is important that the demand is already there,” Pastolero added.
PEDC still has 31MW remaining in its coal plant but more utilities are showing interest in its supply recently.
Pastolero said Panay-based utilities are expected to turn to PEDC once their extended transition supply contracts with state-run National Power Corp. (NPC) expire end of this year.
Some areas in Visayas are enjoying relatively lower rates because of subsidized power from state owned sources such as the unified Leyte geothermal field.
“What will happen is that these cooperatives and utilities such as Central Negros Electric Cooperative in Negros Occidental and Visayas Electric Co. (Veco) will pay higher rates after this year. That’s why Bacolod City has lower power rates because of subsidized electricity,” Pastolero said.
Pastolero said they expect electricity rates in Bacolod and Cebu to increase to a level where Iloilo City can compete with them in terms of stable and affordable power supply.