BENGUET Electric Cooperative (BENECO) member-consumer-owners (MCOs) are set to see hikes in electric bills following the issuance of an order from the Energy Regulatory Commission dated August 4, pursuant to a 2013 ERC case.
The BENECO advisory said that the additional charges are to be implemented from September onward.
The ERC has ordered all electric cooperatives in the country to collect from MCOs an additional Universal Charge – Missionary Electrification (UCME) true-up rate, an increase of P0.0239 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to the normal P0.1561/kWh UCME currently being charged.
The UC-ME charge is the Missionary Electrification Subsidy provided to Distribution Utilities and LGUs that are “off-grid” or not connected to the transmission lines and subsequently rely only on diesel powered generator sets. The subsidy was meant to help the energization of the country’s various islands.
According to the BENECO advisory, the UC-ME increase is due to a shortfall in UC-ME charges in 2012, which meant that the subsidy was not enough to subsidize the power requirements of the islands, necessitating the acquisition of more funding from MCOs.