June 25, 2019
Consumers can expect higher power bills in the future as the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) announced it is seeking regulatory approval to recover universal charge of about P10.2 billion from electricity end-users.
In a speech during Psalm’s 18th Anniversary Celebration on Monday, Psalm President and Chief Executive Officer Irene Joy Garcia said they will file a petition to pass on 6.2 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh) — or P6.12 billion — in universal charge for stranded contract cost (UC-SCC).
Psalm will also file a separate petition to impose P0.63 per kWh — or P4.72 billion — in UC for stranded debt (SD) for this year.
Garcia said these petitions will be submitted to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) within this week, by Wednesday at the earliest. The state-led corporation is not yet done with the certification of posting from the Quezon City government and certification of publication of the said petition, two of the requirements for lodging these applications.
The deadline for submitting these applications is not later than June 30, she added.
Earlier this month, the ERC approved Psalm’s petition to impose the UC-SCC rate of P0.0543 per kWh – or P5.12 billion – to customers for 12 months.
Psalm defines UC-SCC as the excess of the National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) contracted cost of electricity under independent power producers (IPPs) over the actual selling price of the output.
On the other hand, UC-SD is Napocor’s financial obligations which have not been liquidated by the proceeds from the sales of state power assets.
Both UC-SCC and UC-SD are charged to end-users in their monthly electricity bills.
Last month, a bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the Murang Kuryente Bill which intends to lower power rates by tapping the government’s share from the Malampaya natural gas project for the payment of the Napocor’s stranded contract costs and stranded debts.
This piece of legislation, still unsigned by President Duterte, will allow Psalm to avoid incurring additional debts since it would be simpler to tap the Malampaya fund.
“It will be included in the GAA [General Appropriations Act] but to be taken from the fund of the Malampaya and then once the maturing obligations start to arrive, we can draw on that fund,” Garcia explained.
Psalm is mandated by Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law to sell the remaining assets and settle the financial obligations of Napocor.
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