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Dagdag gastos! Boracay closure may hike power rates, Gatchalian warns

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by: Xave Gregorio

The looming closure of popular island destination Boracay may lead to a power rate hike, with electricity cooperatives passing operating costs to consumers outside of the island, Senator Win Gatchalian warned.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee, explained that electric cooperatives would be passing operating or overhead costs to other consumers as a result of decreased revenues following Boracay’s closure.

“‘Pag nag-sarado, wala nang revenue, tataas ‘yung overhead, ‘yung overhead, ipapasa sa iba,” Gatchalian said Monday (April 16) in a chance interview with reporters.

According to an Inquirer.net report, Aklan Electric Cooperative, the lone power supplier in the province, would be charging P1.58 per kilowatt hour due to an expected P99 million loss brought about by the shutdown.

Aside from passing costs to other consumers, Gatchalian said the national government can also subsidize power in Aklan province during the shutdown.

However, he advised against this, even if the closing down of Boracay due to environmental woes is a decision coming from the national government.

“‘Pag sinabi nating subsidy, buong Pilipinas ‘yan ha. Tayo lahat ang magbibigay and ‘yan dini-discourage natin kasi sisingilin tayo lahat,” Gatchalian said.

He also doubts that the National Electrification Administration would be able to subsidize power costs in Aklan.

But he said the government agency may be able to shoulder costs if the power hike would be small enough.

Calamity funds, which are already eyed to provide livelihood assistance to workers rendered jobless by Boracay’s closure, may also be used to subsidize Aklan’s power, the senator said.

Boracay is set to be closed for up to six months on April 26 for rehablitation, but Gatchalian said the planned works on the island can be finished in two months.

“The sooner we can reopen Boracay, the better for many entities including electric coops, icluding consumers,” Gatchalian said.