House ratifies ‘Murang Kuryente’ Act

The House of Representatives on May 29, 2019, ratified the proposed “Murang Kuryente” Act which seeks to reduce electricity rates by allocating the net government share from the Malampaya fund to clear the huge debts of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) being charged to the monthly electric bill of consumers.

Under the consolidated version of House Bill 8869 and Senate Bill 1950, some PHP208 billion from the net government share of the Malampaya fund will be allocated to cover payment for stranded contract costs and stranded debts of Napocor.

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.

On the other hand, stranded debts refer to any unpaid financial obligations which have not been liquidated by the proceeds from the sales and privatization of Napocor 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.

According to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, chair of the House committee on energy, the implementation of the measure will translate to a savings of PHP172 per household that consumes an average 200KwH per month.

“At least 16 million households will stand to benefit from the measure,” he said.

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

Besides paying the huge debts of Napocor, the measure also seeks to further lower electricity rates by authorizing the use of Malampaya funds to finance further exploration, development and exploitation of other energy resources.

With the Senate ratifying the harmonized bill Tuesday, the Murang Kuryente Act now only needs the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte for the measure to be enacted into law. (Jose Cielito Reganit, PNA)