SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
12 October 2021 03:50:18 PM
The House Committee on Energy chaired by Deputy Majority Leader Juan Miguel Arroyo began its inquiry into the increase in electricity rates of electric cooperatives in Negros and Iloilo. This is based on House Resolution 2206 filed by Rep. Francisco Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental). In his sponsorship speech, Benitez explained that the major factor that caused the spike of electricity rates in August 2021 was the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) submarine cable that was damaged during the dredging activities of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The damage caused imbalances in the power requirement and eventually an increase in generation charges, which was reflected in the electric bills of consumers. Benitez said that the investigation seeks to look into potential immediate, mid-term, and long-term solutions to issues on price hikes and power outages. In so doing, it would pave the way at ensuring affordable, dependable, and sustainable electricity in the region. To help resolve power problems, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera noted that the ERC is assisting biomass power plants to be able to provide renewable energy in Negros. Along with this, Department of Energy (DOE) Director Mario Marasigan reported that the DOE has already advised electric utilities and cooperatives to seek out cheaper sources for a more expeditious solution to the costly electricity rates. Meanwhile, Rep. Greg Gasataya (Lone District, Bacolod City) requested the DOE to present the agency’s strategy on how to upscale or improve the storage capacity for renewable energy in Negros. The panel will hold another hearing to further discuss the matter and explore other options to ease the burden of people in the Western Visayas.