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ERC asked to roll back Napocor missionary charges

PHILSTAR

CONSUMER-INTEREST group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) said Wednesday that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) needs to dismiss the National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) applications to raise the universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME), and roll back current charges as well.

The UCME is collected from all on-grid electricity end-users, as authorized by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or EPIRA. As of March 31, 2021, the ERC-approved rate stands at P0.1561 per kilowatt hour.

“(We) move that ERC dismiss any increases in universal charges for missionary electrification but (instead) order a rollback and… consider moot and academic all pending prior applications (of the Napocor) in ERC,” LKI President Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said in a statement.

He said the current universal charges are sufficient for Napocor to bring power to off-grid areas and remote islands.

“The economic data supports a rollback instead of an increase in universal charges,” he added.

Last month, Napocor sought an extension to submit its evidence supporting its application for a UCME hike, Mr. Dimagiba said, adding that the submission is required under ERC rules.

“For the failure to submit the FOE (formal offer of evidence), the Commission (should) not consider any evidence which has not been formally offered,” Mr. Dimagiba said, citing the ERC’s revised rules of practice and procedure.

BusinessWorld asked Napocor and the ERC to comment, but they had not replied at deadline time.

According to the website of the Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corp., the UCME accounts for 78% of all universal charges collected from consumers. — Angelica Y. Yang

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