MORE Power consumers to enjoy ‘very significant’ rate reductions

PHOTO CAPTION: MORE is delivering on its promise early on to reduce power rates for Iloilo City consumers./iNEWS

Consumers of MORE Power have a delightful surprise waiting for them when they open their billing for the month of July: a huge electricity rate reduction.

This, after MORE announced in a virtual press conference yesterday that for this month, residential consumers would get to enjoy a P3.55 drop in their power rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The rate in June was P10.0149/kWh; from this month, it will be P6.50/kWh.

“This is, indeed, extraordinary. In all my years in the industry—and I’ve been here for 20—this is the lowest I’ve ever seen,” enthused Roel Castro, MORE Power president and chief operating officer.

According to Castro, MORE being now 100 percent connected to the national grid allowed them to choose the best rate for Iloilo City among the available suppliers.

“We’ve always been sincere and serious in our quest (for the best rates) for our consumers, and this is the result of our hard work,” he added.

POWER BILL 101

For MORE electric consumers, the electric bill pie is divided into six slices, with the Generation Charge—the cost of electricity generated by power plants—getting the biggest slice at 60%.

Distribution, Supply, and Metering and VAT get the second and third biggest shares at 17% and 11% respectively.

The rest of the pie is divided among Transmission Charge, Systems Loss, and Subsidies and Universal Charges.

According to Kaye Elequin, MORE Energy Sourcing Manager, only the Distribution, Supply, and Metering cost is the part of the bill MORE Power utilizes to maintain, upgrade, and rehabilitate the distribution system. The rest are “pass through” costs, which means they go direct to the other companies or government agencies, or benefit subsidized senior citizens and lifeliners.

The transmission charge is paid to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for the cost of transporting high voltage electricity from the power plants to the distribution utilities via transmission towers.

The contentious ‘systems loss’, meanwhile, is computed from the cost of electricity lost or wasted during transmission plus electricity stolen or pilfered with the use of “jumpers” or illegal connections. With the cap for systems loss capped at 5.5% by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), any loss above that is absorbed by MORE.

JULY REDUCTIONS

This month’s billing cycle will reflect the following reductions per kilowatt-hour for the following electric consumer classes:

Residential – P3.5588/kW

Commercial – P3.3102

City Street Lights – P3.3102

City Offices – P3.3102

For residential consumers, the drop would mean a rate of P6.4562/kWh from the previous month’s rate of P10.0149/kWh.

According to Elequin, this would give the average household consuming 300kW a monthly savings of about P1067.

“So we are really bringing more to your lives,” she quipped.

HOW IT CAME ABOUT

Simply put, MORE Power is able to reduce power rates from this month due to a different source of energy. In the past, it obtained its supply from Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) and Panay Power Corporation (PPC), but when the emergency power supply contracts with these two companies expired on May 25, 2021, MORE began sourcing its 75 megawatt supply from PSALM (Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management) Corporation on May 26, 2021.

MORE Power’s contract with PSALM allowed it to pick among other power plants that offered more competitive rates, eventually leading it to Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant.

“By taking advantage of PSALM’s competitive time-of-use (TOU) rates over the extraordinarily high prices of the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) for this billing month due to outages of several peak power plants, we were even able to sell our surplus energy to the market,” said Elequin.

COMPARATIVE DATA

Compared to the previous distribution utility (DU), which billed consumers P11.42/kWh on average, MORE Power’s average residential rate was P9.89/kWh in its first year of operations. Whereas MORE’s maximum residential rate in the same period was P10.52/kWh, the former DU’s reached a costly P12.30/kWh. And now, MORE’s P6.4562/kWh—possibly the cheapest rate in the entire country—clearly outshines the ex-DU’s lowest of P10.37/kWh.

Furthermore, in comparison with other DUs or electric companies, MORE Power’s July total average electricity rate of P6.4175 is evidently much lower than Meralco’s P10.1513 and Ceneco’s P10.5043.

“Indeed, MORE Power is holding on to its mandate of giving the consumers of Iloilo City the promise of lower electricity rates,” Elequin stated.

However, despite the gains, Castro said much is left to do.

“We still have a big number of illegal connections,” he lamented, “and we need the help of everyone.”

Aside from lowered power rates, he noted how MORE has made it easier for anyone to apply for a legal connection, including requiring fewer documents to present.

“We would like the people to realize that not only is it easy to get their own power connection, it is much cheaper, too. Many of those with sub-meters are billed P15/kWh by the ‘resellers’; with MORE now, it’s less than half of that,” Castro said./iNEWS

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