Benitez wants to introduce a price ceiling in electricity rates

Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez on Monday, May 20, asked Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Sharon Garin to issue guidelines for imposing a price cap on electricity rates.

This is after several electricity consumers not only in Bacolod City but also in neighboring cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental received unexpectedly high electricity bills in April.

Benitez said that like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a particular disaster, they have also introduced a price freeze on the raw materials.

“So based on the Electricity Sector Reform Act (Epira), there is also a provision that allows the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to impose a price cap or cap. That is why I asked the DOE to provide me with guidance on how we can activate the price cap on electricity rates,” he said.

He added that it is more about making the ERC aware that Bacolod is experiencing a disaster due to the drought.

Once a price cap is introduced, the mayor said electricity rates will not exceed the access rate.

“It is only a temporary price ceiling, and that does not only apply to Ceneco. If they can do it nationally, why not?” he said.

On Monday, May 20, the Senate approved House Bill No. 9805 estate, which granted franchise to the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC).

The scope of the franchise includes the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay and Talisay, along with the municipalities of Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto.

The majority of Central Negros Electric Cooperative member-consumers previously approved the joint venture agreement between NEPC and Ceneco.

Benitez said that even before the franchise came into force, NEPC had sent teams here to help Ceneco with the repairs.*