Romero to SFELAPCO: ‘Reimburse Consumers’

“Reimburse P654 million to the consumers now.”

Thus, said Pampanga-based businessman Rene Romero urging the San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) to implement a refund scheme to some 127,000 consumer-households.

“Kung meron silang social concern sa ating mga consumers dapat na nila reimburse dahil meron ng order ang ERC bakit kailangan pa nilang mag file ng Motion for Reconsideration samantalang hirap na hirap na sa pagbabayad ng mataas na singil ng kuryente, nasaan ang konsiyensiya ng sfelapco,” Romero said.

“Hindi lamang mga ordinaryo pamilya ang apektado sa mataas na singil , apektado rin ang mga business establishments dahil lumalaki ang operational cost nila.” Romero added.

This, as SFELAPCO lodged a Motion for Reconsideration questioning the decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). On March 13, 2023, an ERC order directed SFELAPCO to reimburse P654 million to its consumers after it allegedly collected the amount representing the generation cost from 2004 up to 2022.

SFELAPCO was also ordered to pay a P21 million penalty for violating ERC regulations by having collected “Other Charges” such as Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WSEM). AP Renewables Inc., which generates power to the distributor utility, was not allowed to collect generation cost by the ERC because their Power Supply Agreement is yet to be approved.

Romero, former president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce (Pamcham) and a resident of the City of San Fernando, said SFELAPCO should reimburse the consumers immediately.

On January 24, amid the impending power rates increase, City of San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag visited ERC Chairman Monalisa Dimalanta and urged her to conduct an impartial probe on the complaints of consumers after multi-sectoral consultations held in the City of San Fernando.

Caluag then said they will oppose any impending power rates hike. “Hindi kami payag sa nakaambang pagtaas ng kuryente.”

Earlier during a press briefing at SMX Clark, SFELACO said they will select the “biggest and best companies” to generate power for its consumers.

Jose Lazatin, SFELAPCO Senior Vice President, said the Emergency Power Supply Agreement with GN Power which currently generates power for SFELAPCO since January will end in June this year. GN Power, which has a coal-fired power plant, collects P7.48 per kilowatt hour without VAT.

The power requirement of SFELAPCO is 130MW to serve its 127,000 clients.

Lazatin said SFELAPCO had a “very stable power rate.” “Mula 2013 hanggang 2022, very stable ang presyo namin. Doon lang po nagre-range sa 4.50 to 5.50. Doon po kami nag-stable habang lahat po ng utility na mga kapitbahay natin, nag-umpisang nagtaas, lalo na po noong 2021,” said Lazatin.

“Noong nagtaas ang coal, ang mga kapitbahay natin, nag-umpisa na po umakyat lahat ng presyo, pero kami po ang pinakamababa dahil na-maintain namin iyong 4.50 na presyo.”

SFELAPCO has reiterated its “commitment to ensure stable, affordable electricity for Fernandinos.”
It reasoned out the decision to implement its pending power supply agreement (PSA) is part of its commitment to provide stable and affordable power supply to its customers in the City of San Fernando.
Lazatin said they “made this decision with the best interest of our consumers in mind who have benefitted from the lowest electricity rates in the area.” He said the decision paid off as the company’s consumers have been spared from paying for more expensive power supply from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WSEM).

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