THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said Tuesday that it approved a feed-in tariff allowance (FiT-All) of P0.0495 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or lower than what was applied for by the government corporation that handles the collected amount from consumers.

“The ERC, in computing the 2019 FiT-All rates, made use of the actual generation billed and the actual cost recovery rate from January until August 2019, among others,” ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Office Agnes VST Devanadera said in a statement.

The regulator said the approved rate is lower by P0.1976 per kWh compared with the P0.2471 per kWh rate proposed by National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) for 2019. It will also be lower than the P0.1731 per kWh reduction from the current or 2018 FiT-All rate of P0.2226 per kWh.

In coming up with the final rate, the ERC said it considered the feed-in tariff-eligible plants with a certificate of compliance for FiT, and the 2019 forecast incoming run-of-river hydroelectric power and biomass plants.

It said it factored into the computation the extension approved by the Department of Energy (DoE) of the 250-megawatt installation target for the two types of power plants up to Dec. 31, 2019 or its full subscription, whichever comes first.

In its proposal, TransCo estimated an under-recovery of about P122.7 million, but the ERC used the actual over-recovery in the books of the state company as of Oct. 7, 2019 amounting to P6.7 billion.

Ms. Devanadera said the approved FiT-All will be charged to all on-grid consumers supplied with electricity through the distribution or transmission networks starting on the immediately succeeding billing period after TransCo’s receipt of the ERC decision.

“The 2019 FiT-All will result in a reduction in the existing FiT-All rate and will increase the consumers’ purchasing power,” she said.

Asked to comment, the head of consumer group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) said he was “feeling happy” after the ERC decision.

In a mobile phone message, LKI President Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said his group “feels relieved that the regulator listened to our standing advocacy” to reduce the feed-in tariff allowance.

He said a P0.04-per-kWh reduction was submitted by his group to the ERC last year.

“However, LKI reserves (the right) to review the decision on the interest earned by TransCo in the P6.7-billion surplus. How much is the interest earned and should be refunded also to the consumers,” he said.

The FiT-All mechanism was created after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which aims to encourage the development of emerging renewable power sources such as wind, solar, run-of-river hydro, and biomass facilities.

Calculated and set yearly, the FiT-All is a uniform charge in pesos per kWh payable by all electricity users. Distribution utilities, privately owned power grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and retail electricity suppliers serve as collecting agents. The proceeds go to the FIT-All fund, which is administered by TransCo. — Victor V. Saulon