Senate approves ‘Murang Kuryente Act’

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MANILA – The Senate has approved in third and final reading a measure that seeks to authorize the use of the P207-billion Malampaya Fund to pay off the stranded contract costs and stranded debt of the National Power Corp. (Napocor).

Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1950, or the “Murang Kuryente Act,” moves the Filipino consumers closer toward attaining lower electricity rates, said its author Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

“This is a victory for power consumers, who have long been made to share the burden of paying Napocor’s debts through the universal charge for stranded debts and stranded contract costs incorporated in the monthly electricity bill,” Gatchalian said.

He added: “It is high time for the Filipino people to receive tangible benefits from the Malampaya Fund. With the approval of this measure, the government share realized from the Malampaya Natural Gas Project will end up lowering retail power rates for millions of consumers across the country.”

SBN 1950 seeks to use the Malampaya Fund – accrued from the net profit share earned by the government from the operation of the Malampaya Natural Gas Project in the West Philippine Sea – for the payment of the stranded contract costs and stranded debts.

The P207-billion fund – which was initially intended to fund the exploration, development, and exploitation of energy resources – has remained largely unused since 2001.

Gatchalian explained that the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. may only tap the fund after it has already applied the collections from its different sources of revenue.

The funds to be used for the power debt payment servicing will be allocated through the General Appropriations Act.

Once the obligations have been fully paid, the remaining funds will be used to pay missionary electrification and environmental charges as well as the feed-in-tariff allowance, he said./PN

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