by Alena Mae S. Flores – July 31, 2017 at 07:41 pm
The Energy Department is still hoping to tap the Malampaya Fund to pay the obligations of state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and avoid future electricity rate increases.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the department was closely coordinating with Congress on the passage of laws that would allow the department to tap the Malampaya Fund.
“We are studying how we can avoid further increases in the universal charge,” Fuentebella said.
The department failed to tap the fund PSALM’s stranded debt and stranded contract cost recoveries amounting to P37 billion starting July.
“We need laws. We have not finished talking with Congress (on the use of the fund,” Fuentebella said.
The official last year said the government was considering tapping into a portion of the P228-billion Malampaya Fund to bring down power costs.
Fuentebella earlier said previous disbursements were made from the fund through Presidential Decree 910 allowing the President to use the Malampaya Fund. The Supreme Court, however, invalidated the arrangement in 2013.
The Malampaya Fund consists of proceeds from the Malampaya gas project in northwest Palawan and other oil and gas producing assets in the country.
The Energy Regulatory Commission last week allowed PSALM to recover P37.068 billion from consumers under the universal charge item of the electric bill.
Consumers will feel only a slight increase in the universal charge, as only the approved P0.0265 per kilowatt-hour increase will be reflected under the stranded debt of National Power Corp. starting July.
The regulator approved PSALM’s stranded debt recovery of P24.198 billion equivalent to P0.0265 per kWh covering the period 2011 to 2012.
“All distribution utilities and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines are hereby directed to collect the amount of P0.265 per kWh from the consumers starting the next billing period and remit the same to PSALM,” ERC said in a decision dated June 27.
Stranded debts refer to any unpaid financial obligation of Napocor which have not been liquidated by proceeds from the sale and privatization of Napocor’s assets.
PSALM said the approved P0.0265 per kWh recovery was lower than the proposed recovery rate application of P0.0382 per kWh and that the nine-year recovery period until June 2026 would mitigate the impact to consumers while allowing the agency to recover its costs.
PSALM is mandated to manage the assets and liabilities of Napocor.
ERC, in a separate decision dated July 6, allowed PSALM to recover P12.878 billon from consumers equivalent to P0.1938 per kWh for Napocor’s stranded contract costs.
The stranded contract costs of Napocor, as defined under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, refer to the “excess of the contracted cost of electricity under eligible contracts over the actual selling price of the contracted energy output of such contracts in the market.”