Cusi nixes new feed-in tariff

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 04, 2016 at 09:15 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is not inclined to a third round of feed-in tariff to ease the burden of consumers from high electricity rates.

“As long as I don’t violate anything, I will put a stop to it,” Cusi said, adding he was not endorsing the third round of installation targets sought by the National Renewable Energy Board during the previous administration.

“The succeeding FIT, I don’t want that,” he said. The previous NREB board asked for an additional installation target of 500 megawatts for wind and another 500 MW for solar.

Newly-appointed NREB chairman Jay Layug, however, said the agency was still weighing on a decision to reaffirm or scrap the previous filing with the department.

“No decision yet, I need to convene with the board,” said Layug.

Manila Electric Co., meanwhile, is set to file an intervention to the application of National Transmission Corp. with the Energy Regulatory Commission for a feed-in tariff allowance, or the per kilowatt-hour rate charged to consumers for payment of use of renewable energy, amounting to P0.2291 per kilowatt-hour starting in 2017.

“We intend to intervene in the petition,” Meralco head of utility economics Lawrence Fernandez said.

TransCo is currently collecting P0.1240 per kWh from consumers under the FIT-Allowance line item in the power bills. The rate will be increased to P0.2291 per kWh, if approved by ERC.

The amount represents the payment to eligible renewable energy developers totaling P16.488 billion, including under-recoveries in 2016.

TransCo also asked ERC to make permanent its approval of the rate, “or in the alternative, such other amount as may be found by the Commission to be consistent with the FIT-All guidelines and on the basis of new and updated information not heretofore available to the applicant at the time of the present application.”

TransCo based its petition on the most updated list of renewable energy projects that are projected to be eligible under the feed-in tariff system from 2014 to 2018 as provided by the Energy Department.

TransCo also tapped its own database containing historical information and the available submission of the developers on actual or forecast generation.

The state-owned firm said the department’s list provided the best estimate of the timing of the renewable energy plants. The list, however, does not give preemptive right to the identified projects to be counted under the final feed-in tariff eligible projects, not does it limit the payment to these projects.

The company limited the determination of the 2017 FIT-All rate to include eligible capacities up to the installation targets set by the department, namely 500 megawatts for solar, 400 MW for wind, 250 MW for hydro and 250 MW for biomass.

TransCo said it included projects that reached at least 80 percent electromechanical completion, which meant they were certain to operate within the period under consideration.