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Cebu News

House probe into ERC's inaction eyed

Gregg M. Rubio - The Freeman
House probe into ERC's inaction eyed
The congresswoman questioned why ERC has not yet acted on the joint application of Bantayan Island Electric Cooperative (BANELCO) and Isla Norte Energy Corporation (INEC) for a power supply agreement for over a year now.

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu Fourth District Representative Janice Salimbangon is eyeing a congressional inquiry into the Energy Regulatory Commission’s lack of action on the power supply agreement of an electricity provider.

The congresswoman questioned why ERC has not yet acted on the joint application of Bantayan Island Electric Cooperative (BANELCO) and Isla Norte Energy Corporation (INEC) for a power supply agreement for over a year now.

INEC, a partnership between Vivant Energy Corp. and Gigawatt Power, Inc., inaugurated its 23.3-megawatt diesel power plant in Barangay Kabangbang, Bantayan on November 10, 2021.

During the inauguration, Salimbangon learned that the operation is under a Provisional Authority to Operate (PAO) issued by the ERC for 90 days since October while the latter is in the process of approving the PSA with the INEC.

Last November 4, the ERC has directed BANELCO to source out power from any supplier which it deems fit to ensure continuous and unhampered supply in the island in the meantime.

“Rest assured that I will continue to intervene and do my best to secure the approval of the joint application of BANELCO and INEC. If needed, I will be calling for a Congressional inquiry against ERC regarding this matter,” said Salimbangon.

Salimbangon congratulated INEC for the venture that will also benefit more than 35,000 member households on Bantayan Island.

On October 12, 2020, BANELCO and INEC) filed a Joint Application dated April 22, 2020 seeking the ERC’s approval of their PSA and the total cost of generation rate (TCGR), with motion for provisional authority.

Pending action of the joint application for one year already, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has appealed to the ERC for an immediate intervention so INEC could supply the much-needed power supply gap in the island to address its energy woes for years.

The call was made during the October 21, 2021 meeting at the Provincial Capitol with officials of the ERC, INEC, BANELCO, Bantayan Island Power Corp. (BIPCOR), and the mayors of Bantayan, Santa Fe and Madridejos towns.

INEC executives said during the meeting that they have complied with the necessary documentary requirements for them to be granted the PAO.

BANELCO also informed the island residents that INEC finished its testing and commissioning on October 18, 2021 and BIPCOR has resumed providing the power supply.

Garcia also officially wrote a letter dated October 20, 2021 to ERC chairperson and chief executive officer Agnes Devanadera to air the provincial government’s request.

Devanadera instead signed the said ERC resolution amid the application for the approval of the PSA and the TCGR between BANELCO and INEC which is currently subject to an ongoing hearing.

With legal issues surrounding the PSA still unresolved, the ERC said for the difference between the previously approved TCGR in BANELCO’s existing PSA and Subsidized-Approved Generation Rate (SAGR), BANELCO may recover the subsidy from the ERC-approved Universal Charge Missionary Electrification. — KQD (FREEMAN)

ERC

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