Napocor to borrow P10B to ensure electricity supply in off-grid areas

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) needs P10 billion in loans to ensure small power plants would have enough fuel to sustain electricity supply in off-grid areas this year.

According to Maki Pulido’s report Tuesday on “24 Oras,” the loan will be paid through the additional charges to be imposed under the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)’s universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME).

The ERC has only approved a UCME increase of 4 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh), in contrast to its 15 centavos kWh commitment, saying they are implementing the surcharge in increments to mitigate effects for the main grid customers.

“Band aid solution ‘to, ang long term solution sana either makabit mga isla sa main grid or magkaroon ng sarili maraming sariling supply,” said ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta.

(This is a band-aid solution. The long-term solution is to either connect islands on the main grid or to provide them with their own supplies.)

Meanwhile, new power providers (NPP) said they also need to infuse more capital to ensure smooth operations.

“We need to infuse more capital or borrow money from the bank so we can basically pay our fuel supplier, basically supplier because that’s 80 percent of our cost,” said Calvin Genolativa of Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corporation.

For its part, the Association of Isolated Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) asked the public, especially main grid consumers such as Meralco, for understanding, saying their electricity fees would be higher should there be no subsidies for power plants supplying off-grid areas.

“Mas mura po ang presyo ng kuryente sa main grid kaya pakiusap namin konting tulong lang,” AIEC president Rene Fajilagutan said.

(The electricity fees in the main grid are cheaper than ours so we’re appealing for help.)

(GMA Integrated News)