Congress approves Murang Kuryente Act this week
Both chambers of Congress, the House of Senate and House of Representatives, approved the proposed “Murang Kuryente Act” this week by ratifying Senate Bill (SB) No. 1950 and House Bill (HB) No. 8869, respectively. The Senate ratified SB No. 1950 on May 28 while the House also ratified its counterpart, HB No. 8869, the following day.
Both bills seek to lower power rates by transferring billions worth of the Malampaya fund as payment for the debts (stranded contract costs and stranded debts) of the National Power Corporation (Napocor). Once transferred, the debts will no longer be passed on to power consumers through the Universal Charge, thus lowering the monthly electricity bills of all customers.
They also grant further exploration, development, and exploitation of energy resources to lower electricity rates.
The billions of funds from Malampaya will be transferred to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, the entity created by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act to handle Napocor’s privatization and finances.
According to 1-CARE Representative Carlos Roman Uybarreta from the House of Representatives, if the Murang Kuryente Act will be passed into law, there will be an estimated decrease of P0.57 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in electricity billings.
“That’s equivalent to more or less P115 to P120 in savings for a household with a monthly consumption at 200 kWh,” Uybarreta said.
On the other hand, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto stated that consumers will be able to save more, amounting to P0.8474 per kWh.
Sherwin Gatchalian, Senate Energy Committee Chair, said that the Senate version translates to a savings of P169.48 per month and P2,033.76 per year, enough for an average household to buy an extra sack of rice.
Lawmakers from both chambers need to reconcile the conflicting provisions of their individual versions of the Act in the bicameral conference committee before the enrolled copy of the bicam conference report is transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.
Both chambers also ratified SB No. 2098 and HB No. 6276, otherwise known as the proposed “Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act.”