Senator Sherwin Gatchalian pushed for the early implementation of a law that will allow the usage of the P 207 billion Malampaya fund to pay for the stranded contract cost and debt of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).
The law he claimed would provide Filipino customers with consumer savings on their electricity bill.
Gatchalian, who is also the chairman Senate Committee on Energy, endorsed for plenary approval of Senate Bill 1950 or the Murang Kuryente Act, adopting a bill by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto.
Gatchalian told the Senate that the P207 billion fund was originally allotted for the bankroll exploration, development, and exploitation of energy resources.
Since 2001, the fund has been largely unused.
He added that the passage of this law “would lower electricity rates and provide significant consumer savings for Filipinos.”
Gatchalian emphasizes that consumers have long been made to share the burden of paying the Napocor’s debt through the universal charge paid in the monthly electricity bill.
He cited estimates that power consumers spend P0.1938 per kilowatt-hour from January 2013 to May 2017. Last year in June, a typical Filipino household started paying P0.2203 per kilowatt.
The senator also warned that Filipino households may “suffer even more” from pass-on charges as cash flow projections of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), which is the government corporation that inherited Napocor’s debts.
He added that it “shows the necessity of collecting an accumulated universal charge of P0.5593 per kilowatt-hour from the year 2020 to 2026 unless the bill becomes law.”
Gatchalian estimated that “this may translate to an additional charge of P111.86 per month for a household consuming 200 kilowatts during said period— money that could have been used to buy 2 to 3 additional kilos of rice.”
He said that for a household consuming 200 kilowatt-hours per month would result in saving of P109.34 per month or P1,312.08 per year.
To avoid fund disbursement abuses, safeguards were included in the proposed law.
He said the funds to be used for the power debt payment will be allocated through the General Appropriations Act.
Once the obligations have been cleared, the remaining funds will be given to the Special Fund that will used to finance energy resource exploration, development, and exploitation programs.