Monday, April 10, 2017

PSALM assures no increase for now in UC stranded costs

Published April 1, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

There is no increase in the universal charge for stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) in the consumers’ electric bills, because the regulatory mandate is for Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to just continue collections at prevailing level of P0.1938 per kilowatt hour.
It has been categorically stated that the UC rate in the bills is already at that extent, but since PSALM still has shortfall in collections, it was allowed to stretch its pass-on of such charges.
“The March 6, 2017 Order did not authorize the collection of any new rate for recovery from consumers,” Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Spokesperson Floresinda B. Digal has primarily stated.
She emphasized that ‘the Commission merely allowed PSALM to continue the collection of the universal charge for stranded contract cost for calendar years 2007-2010 as determined in 2013.”
In that ERC ruling four years ago, the regulatory body authorized the collection of aggregate P53.85 billion, purportedly for recovery over four years.
But Digal emphasized that as per PSALM’s submission, “after the lapse of four years, the full amount has not yet been fully recovered.”
That then prompted the ERC to decide on allowing PSALM “to extend authority to recover from consumers until the full amount is collected.”
PSALM has pending UC applications of roughly P100 billion for both stranded contract costs and stranded debts, but the ERC has yet to decide on such petitions.
Given the permission on PSALM’ extended UC collections, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) Assistant Vice President Joe Zaldarriaga stressed that “we will comply with any ERC directive in relation to the said collection.”
He further explained that “just like the other distribution utilities, we are the collecting agent of the universal charge which goes to PSALM.”

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