THE National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) said it still has a “sufficient” balance in the feed-in-tariff allowance (FiT-All) fund to aid renewable energy (RE) developers and help sustain their operations during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Late Friday, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the suspension of FiT-All collections, effectively cutting power rates by P0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the next utilities billing cycle.
“The FiT-All Fund has sufficient total balance to address its current obligations to the FiT-Eligible RE Developers even if no new FiT-All collection comes in for the time being,” TransCo President and Chief Executive Officer Melvin A. Matibag told BusinessWorld in a text message Sunday.
“We are currently coordinating with the ERC on some technicalities regarding account disbursements,” he added.
The ERC has asked TransCo to continue its payments of obligations to feed-in-tariff-eligible power producers, which it claimed would not be affected by the collection halt.
Meanwhile, the agency tasked with administering FiT-All collections said it has advised its collection agents to observe the order.
“[W]e will contribute to this cause by complying with the Order and not adding to the concerns and anxiety of the public. We have also advised our Collection Agents to observe the ERC Order,” Mr. Matibag said.
Asked to comment, Negros Occidental-based San Carlos Biopower, Inc. Vice Chairman Don Mario Y. Dia said that the FiT-All collection break might affect the company’s projects.
“(We are) definitely affected, especially now that we are in a crisis. But if this helps alleviate the plight of the poor, we are treating it as cushion or assistance, and part of our Corporate Social Responsibility,” Mr. Dia told Businessworld in a text message Sunday.
In its order, the ERC suspended the FiT-All collection to “provide some economic relief to the majority of electricity consumers,” mainly minimum-wage earners.
“With the ongoing lockdown situation, most of them are facing forced unpaid leave, reduced working hours, or no work-no pay arrangements,” ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes Vicenta S. Torres-Devanadera said in a statement.
The agency said some 19 million electricity customers will benefit from the rate cut.
This year, on-grid customers are charged a P0.0495 per kWh FiT-All rate, which is P0.1731 lower than the previous FiT-All rate of P0.2226 per kWh.
FiT-All is a uniform charge to all electricity customers, calculated and set annually. It is collected by distribution utilities, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, and Retail Electricity Suppliers, while the payments are remitted to the FiT-All fund held by TransCo. — Adam J. Ang