Solon seeks probe on Leyte rising power rates

ORMOC CITY — Leyte Fourth District Representative Richard Gomez is pushing for a congressional inquiry to shed light on the high cost of electricity in his district and the whole Eastern Visayas region.

The Leyte solon said that he has made his plan known through a message sent to the chair of Ormoc City council’s committee on environment, natural resources and energy conservation during the “question hour.”

“I asked the council (Ormoc Sangguniang Panlungsod) to give me a copy of the inquiry and if there are questions left unanswered, I will call an inquiry at the House that may help us correct some measures needed to lower the cost of electricity in our district,” Gomez said in a statement.

City councilor Lalaine Marcos said Gomez will raise the issue on high power rates in congress and will also invite officials from the Leyte V Electric Cooperative (LEYECO V) and the National Electrification Administration to congressional inquiry shed light on the lingering problem of high power rates.

LEYECO V service area covers Ormoc City and the towns of Albuera, Kananga, Matag-ob, Merida, Isabel and Palompon, which are all under Leyte’s Fourth Congressional District, and five other municipalities.

Ormoc City and Kananga town, on the other hand, host the geothermal field of Energy Development Corporation which was formerly owned by the state’s Philippine National Oil Corporation.

In July, electricity rate in LEYECO V was at P14.9255 per kilowatt hour, just slightly lower than P13.0364 imposed in LEYECO II which is the lowest rate in Eastern Visayas. In other parts of the region, electricity in Southern Leyte costs P19.0072, Biliran at P18.7778 and LEYECO IV at P18.9494 per kilowatt hour.

Electric cooperatives in Eastern Visayas source most of its electricity from the 600-megawatts Mariveles Coal-Fired Power Plant in Bataan after GN Power Ltd. won the 2015 CSP bidding.

Maria Rosa Cormanes, head of LEYECO V finance services department, said the electric cooperative derives most of its electricity from coal whose prices in the world market have tremendously increased in recent months.

She added that the cooperative is now paying P280 million per month for the electric generation, which is almost thrice compared to P97 million per month that it used to pay earlier this year.

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