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Zambales politikos negotiate power rate cut in province – report

Zambales Representatives Jay Khonghun and Doris “Nanay Bing” Maniquiz, along with Zambales Mayors League president Jeffrey Khonghun, have negotiated another round of power rates reduction in the province.

According to a Punto report, the three politikos had a dialogue at the House of Representatives with power distribution companies in Zambales and Olongapo City.

During the meeting, the companies “agreed to reduce electric billings by as much as P2 per kilowatt hour in March, and to revert in April to the reduced rates agreed upon in September last year,” the report said.

These, according to the Punto report, include the Zambales Electric Cooperative (Zameco) I and II and Olongapo Electricity Distribution Company, Inc. (OEDC). Officials of SMC Global Power, which operates the coal-fired thermal power plant in Masinloc, Zambales were also present in the dialogue to present their proposal for a power rates’ cut.

The new round of reduced rates would lower power cost for Zameco I subscribers from the current P19.52 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to P12.70 in March and to P14.70 from April to December this year, the report added.

Customers of Zameco II will also enjoy rates reduction from the current P19.9146 per kWh to P13.02 in March and to P15.02 from April to December 2023, while those of OEDC will similarly get adjustments of P13.60 per kWh in March and P15.60 starting April.

The three power distribution firms agreed to the reduction after SMC Global Power heeded residents’ clamor for lower power rates and proposed a price cap of P8 this month and P10 starting April, Punto reproted.

“Zambaleños have been burdened immensely after the power distributors once again increased their rates recently. Pagod na ang mga tao. So, we had to find a win-win solution,” Maniquiz was quoted as saying.

In the dialogue, Rep. Khonghun pointed out that the three electricity distribution companies recently increased their power rates in violation of the agreement in September last year for a continuing cap on electricity rates “while residents continue to be burdened by high prices.”

“So, why were you so keen on increasing your rates? Why not instead find ways to keep the price down?” Khonghun said.

Mayor Khonghun, meanwhile, reminded Zameco officials that cooperatives are owned by their member-subscribers. “Taumbayan ang may-ari ng Zameco, hindi kayo. Empleyado lang kayo ng mga tao,” he said in the report.