POWER rates from the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) saw another uptick this month for member-consumer-owners (MCOs) in Baguio and Benguet.
Power rates increased by a significant P0.9188 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) during the September billing period following increases in the generation, systems loss, and universal charges of the electric cooperative.
The residential power rate for September was computed to be at P10.4820/kWh compared to the P9.5631/kWh similar charge during the August billing period.
The increase is credited largely to the drastic rise in generation charge from last month’s P4.9503/kWh to P5.7300/kWh during the September billing period, or an increase of P0.7797/kWh primarily due to the skyrocketing global market price of coal.
Another factor in the increase was the systems loss charge of BENECO, which climbed from P0.6108/kWh to P0.6809/kWh in September.
Yet another factor in the increase of prices is the mandatory collection of the universal charge for missionary electrification pursuant to the earlier ruling of the Energy Regulatory Commission, pegged at P0.239/kWh, which was not charged from the MCOs in the previous billing periods.
BENECO General Manager Melchor Licoben claimed that coal, now at $430 per metric ton, is starting to become unaffordable for power generation companies, passing on the increased cost to consumers.
Licoben said that the price of coal has increased some five times compared to pre-pandemic times globally.