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Napocor to defer plan to cut SPUG operations


NATIONAL Power Corp. (Napocor) said it will postpone its plan to reduce the operating hours of its small power utilities group or SPUG power plants.

“We at [Napocor] are pleased to convey our decision to defer the implementation of the earlier proposed reduction of operating hours in our SPUG plants, following a series of consultations with our customers and stakeholders,” the state-led company said in an advisory.

In January, the Department of Energy (DoE) proposed a higher universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME) to fund the operations of Napocor as diesel prices continue to increase.

The DoE and Napocor are proposing a UCME increase of about 15 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 authorizes the collection of UCME to fund Napocor’s operations, including those of its SPUG, which serves remote areas not connected to the grid.

Napocor said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had committed to speed up the review of its UCME petitions.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said that the commission is scheduled to review the UCME application this month.

Napocor’s board is also planning to borrow P5 billion from government financial institutions to fund SPUG operations.

“For our pending loan application with the Land Bank of the Philippines, we are awaiting Sovereign Guarantee from the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Once the Guarantee is released, the amount shall be ready for disbursement to fund our SPUG operons and missionary electrification functions,” Napocor said in its recent statement.

Napocor said that if it failed to secure the needed funds to sustain its operation, it will need to reduce the operations of SPUG operating hours starting March 1.

Meanwhile, Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DoE undersecretary, maintained the department’s position of ruling out any possibility of a power outage this summer.

“Possible yellow alerts in Luzon and Visayas but not brownouts,” Ms. Guevara said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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