Senate probes electric cooperative

March 20, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 195 views

SENATOR Raffy Tulfo, chairperson of the Committee on Energy, led the grilling of San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) officials for reportedly violating its power supply agreement (PSA).

During the committee hearing Monday, March 20, 2023, Tulfo pointed out that since 2014, SFELAPCO had been implementing the PSA with Aboitiz Power Renewables Inc. (APRI), the clean energy arm of the power generation company of Aboitiz Power Corp. without the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

As a result, the ERC declared the contract between SFELAPCO and APRI to be “null and void” and asked the electric cooperative to refund its customers worth P654 million.

“SFELAPCO, have you submitted a refund scheme and when will these refund be given back to the power consumers? I intend to get to the bottom of this issue so that the power consumers, who are tired of paying high electricity rates, will get their refund as soon as possible,” Tulfo said.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, asked officials of the San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO) why it took the distribution utility ten years to conduct a competitive selection process (CSP) for cheaper electricity rates.

During the hearing on the reported violation of SFELAPCO in including the power supply agreement in the retail rates, Gatchalian pointed out that the conduct of the CSP could have helped ease doubts of power consumers on the competitiveness of the electricity rates that the distribution utility offered.

“The point there… there is now transparency in the way you entered your contract. There’s no transparency. The CSP is supposed to be the mechanism for people to appreciate contracts that you enter into,” the former Committee on Energy chairperson explained.