Cheaper power rates touted

ABOUT 16 million household consumers will benefit from the Murang Kuryente Bill.

This was according to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, following the approval of the measure in the bicameral conference committee.

The “Murang Kuryente” bill is a measure aimed at clearing the huge debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) that is being charged to the monthly electric bill of consumers.

Velasco said under the bill, some P208 billion from the net government share of the Malampaya fund will be allocated to cover payment for the stranded contract costs and stranded debts of the NPC, and once implemented, will translate to a savings of P172 per household who consumes an average 200KwH per month.

“This will lighten the burden of Filipinos from the high cost of electricity without hurting the government coffers,” Velasco said.

Stranded contract costs refer to the excess of NPC’s contracted cost of electricity with independent power producers (IPPs) over the actual selling of the output, while stranded debts refer to any unpaid financial obligations which have not been liquidated by the proceeds from the sales and privatization of the former’s assets.

Payments for stranded contract costs and stranded debts are covered through the universal charge, a pass-on rate to consumers that is also used to finance missionary electrification and the environmental fund.

The bicameral conference committee version, Velasco said, provides that the net government share of the Malampaya fund be transmitted to a special trust fund that will be administered by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation.

“We would like to assure the public that the remaining proceeds of the Malampaya fund is protected and intact, and shall only be utilized for energy development purposes only in accordance with the law,” Velasco said.