Charges from damage of Visayas undersea cable to be refunded

pemc damaged ngcp cable

The Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the governing body of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), said it is devising a refund scheme on congestion charges collected from Visayas electricity customers.

The said charges resulted from repairs to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) submarine cable connecting Negros and Cebu, which was damaged during a dredging and re-channeling activity by the Department of Public Works and Highways last June.

“We recognize the financial burden that the Visayas electric power consumers may bear attributable to the congestion caused by the damaged submarine cable. As such, we are working with the Department of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), and the NGCP in maintaining the balance between protecting the consumers and ensuring the sustainability of the generators,” PEMC President Leonido Pulido III said in a statement.

“The incident cannot discount the fact that supplying power also entails costs on the part of the dispatched generators. Hence, further study and discussion with the stakeholders need to be undertaken to also allow for the recovery of the congestion costs for the power supplied to the areas affected by this incident and how these will be considered in the WESM Bills of Customers,” Pulido, a former Energy assistant secretary, added.

NGCP’s repairs on the damaged power cables were estimated to last up to 26 months.

The ERC directed PEMC last week to stop collecting the congestion charges it had imposed on customers in Negros and Panay. PEMC said the application of the adjustments in the WESM billing and settlements will be retroactive from the June 2021 billing period.

“PEMC, in coordination with the IEMOP, is currently fleshing out the details of the amounts and the manner of refund to the affected customers, as well as the recommendations to be submitted to the ERC on the pricing and settlement solution that may be applied during the repair period,” said Pulido.

Once finalized, the proposed solution shall be formalized through the incorporation of changes to the market rules, specifically on the dispatch protocol as well as the billing and settlement provisions.