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Cebu News

Veco quizzed for charging systems loss to consumers

Mechelle P. Florita, RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines -  The Cebu City Council yesterday questioned why systems losses suffered by the Visayan Electric Company are being charged to the consumers.

“Why is it that we (consumers) have to suffer the burden (of the electric company)?” said City Councilor Sisinio Andales.

Lawyer Isabelo Joseph Tomas II of the Energy Regulations Commission, though, said it is possible to pass on to the consumers the losses of the company if there is a valid reason.

On the other hand, Lyndon Jayme, VECO assistant vice president for utility economics said that “if there is over-recovery (of fees) we return (them to) the customer.  If there is under recovery (of fees) we collect from customers but all these are subject to ERC subject approval.”

Jayme even confirmed that discounts given to senior citizens are actually charged to the consumers.

In yesterday’s session, the council also questioned the “others” portion of VECO’s billing statement.

Jayme explained that there are specific items charged to “others” but that he could not give the details in yesterday’s public hearing.

Because of this, City Councilor Nestor Archival, committee on energy, transportation, communications and other utilities head, said that a Japan External Trade Organization in 2011 showed that the country has the highest electricity rate in Asia.

In 2001, Republic Act 9136 (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) was passed to “ensure transparent and reasonable prices of electricity in a regime of free and fair competition and full public accountability to achieve greater operational and economic efficiency and enhance the competitiveness of Philippine products in the global market.”

Archival said it has been 13 years since the law was passed but its purpose is yet to be achieved.

“Ang essence sa law kay tangtangon ang (was to remove) monopoly pero na-monopolize naman hinuon (but it still is a monopoly),” he said, adding that there is a need to amend the law.

Jaime Paglinawan of the Bayan Central Visayas agreed, saying almost all aspects about power is not privatized.

“Gikontrolar na sa pribadong kompaniya ang halos tanan nga (Privates companies control power) generation, transmission ug (and the) distribution utilities tibuok nasod. Sa EPIRA Law giseguro ang super-ginansya sa mga kompaniya nga gakontrol sa kuryente (instead ensures controlling companies get lots of profits),” he claimed. (FREEMAN)

CEBU CITY COUNCIL CITY COUNCILOR NESTOR ARCHIVAL CITY COUNCILOR SISINIO ANDALES ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY REFORM ACT ENERGY REGULATIONS COMMISSION JAIME PAGLINAWAN OF THE BAYAN CENTRAL VISAYAS JAPAN EXTERNAL TRADE ORGANIZATION JAYME LAWYER ISABELO JOSEPH TOMAS LYNDON JAYME
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