Press Release
August 14, 2019

Endo na ang singil sa consumers ng mga naiwang utang ng Napocor at iba pa

I thank President Duterte for signing the Murang Kuryente Act, and Sen. Win Gatchalian for shepherding its passage in the Senate.

The law is like a light switch that turns off the collection from consumers of the Universal Charge (UC) on stranded debts and stranded contract costs of privatized power assets, including those of contracts forged during the brownout years of the 1990s.

It is essentially a stop payment order that will unburden consumers from paying for the follies of the past.

It is also an injunction against the planned increase in electricity charges that would have kicked in once the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) started collecting a new round of due obligations via the UC.

Per one computation, a household consuming 200 watts a month would be paying P2,064 pesos a year in universal charges if this law had not been enacted.

A little throwback is necessary to explain why consumers ended up paying for debts past.

When the government sold off assets from the previous National Power Corp. state monopoly, it was left with outstanding liabilities which were not included in the sale.

The said obligations were assumed by PSALM, which then passed these on to consumers through the UC.

This explains why our electricity bill contains that seemingly innocuous item called the UC. It is where these stranded costs are lumped together with other unitemized payables.

This orphaned debt-- mga naiwang utang-- assumed by PSALM will hit P566.2 billion by 2026, the year PSALM's corporate life will end.

PSALM's debts can be settled the old way: by passing it on to consumers, which will have to pay an additional 86 centavos per kilowatt-hour once the pending petitions for the Stranded Debts and Stranded Contract Costs are approved.

The law signed by President Duterte provides a painless way: By using the Malampaya fund collections to wipe the slate clean.

Ang resulta ay endo na ang Universal Charge para doon sa mga iniwang utang o stranded costs.

Noong January 2019, mayroong unspent balance ang Malampaya Fund na P231.9 billion.

Ang matitirang pondo mula sa "Katas ng Malampaya" ay gagamitin ng DOE para sa energy resource development and exploration programs.

*** Recto is the principal author of the Murang Kuryente Act.

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