BAGUIO CITY – The Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) has assured consumers here and in Benguet province that there will be no increase in commercial and residential power rates.

In a media release, the city information office on Tuesday said Beneco general manager Melchor Licoben has given the assurance to Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Beneco has over 120,000 registered consumers providing power to the city and the 13 towns of Benguet.

Licoben told Magalong that the electric cooperative has no plans of increasing its charges particularly in the distribution, supply, and metering components of the rate that is within the control of the power distribution utility.

But because there are certain components of the electric bill which are simply passed on by the utility cooperative, Licoben said they cannot assure that there will be no hike in rates.

“The power firm cannot make the same assurance in terms of the generation and transmission charges, the rate components that are within the purview of the power supplier and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and beyond the control of the electric cooperative,” he said in the press statement.

The power industry has been deregulated by the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) which led to the unbundling of the rates, allowing the consumers to see the rates for each component of the electric bill.

“The power industry is deregulated and that the power rates are variable because of the different components, some of which are beyond the jurisdiction of Beneco as the same are within the ambit of the power generators and the transmission companies,” Licoben said.

Earlier, residential and commercial power rates in Baguio and Benguet slightly increased in June following the increase in the transmission and other charges that are out of Beneco’s control.

The Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) also allowed to be included in the rate computation for June is the feed-in tariff for renewable energy sources that also contributed to the slight increase in the power rates. (PNA)