During the Committee on Energy Hearing of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 27 May 2020, PHILRECA General Manager/Executive Director explained the reason consumers experienced increases in their power bills during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
“There are different factors that affect our consumers’ electricity or power bill and as a general rule, your consumption is directly related to your power bill. An increase in electricity consumption will result to an increase in anyone’s power bill. And of course, a decrease in consumption will result to a decrease in power bill,” reported Atty. Colingan.
She added that “electricity consumption varies throughout the year. But in the summer season, the consumption is at its highest compared with other periods.” This is in response to some consumers who took it to the mainstream and social media their complaints concerning increased electricity bills during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), coinciding with the summer season.
She assured the Committee that the electric cooperatives have tried their sincerest efforts to explain the circumstances surrounding this increase in power bills through town hall meetings, social media, TV and radio interviews, and other means available.
Atty. Colingan, however, clarified specific concerns from some consumers. PHILRECA acknowledges that in a couple of news reports, consumers have raised that they received more than twice their usual monthly billing. According to her, the concerned electric cooperatives have reached out to these consumers, and after checking their concerns, both coops found out that they really had an increase in consumption.
Further, Atty. Colingan explained that “with the community quarantine implemented by a great number of LGUs, more people stayed at home for at least the whole day everyday – the time of the day when it is the hottest. Hence, there was an increased use in electrical appliances, and therefore, increased power bills. “
Finally, she reiterated the EC’s concern on how these increases in electricity bills can be mitigated by the lifting of minimum energy offtake; relaxing of PSA (power supply agreement) provisions on capital recovery fees, contract capacity, and other fixed charges; and the availment of prompt payment discounts of ECs from power suppliers regardless of staggered payments as recommended by ERC.
In previous statements from the umbrella organization of the 121 electric cooperatives, PHILRECA appealed to all power suppliers and government regulators to lift or adjust these aforementioned provisions in their PSAs accordingly so as to prevent unnecessary increase in generation charge, directly resulting to higher electricity bills of the consumers.
Atty. Colingan said that PHILRECA and all ECs will work together as they continue to fight against this pandemic.