Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, said that the Murang Kuryente measure seeks to remove the stranded contract cost and stranded debts under the universal charge, as these will be paid by the government’s share from the Malampaya fund.
KrizJohn Rosales
Senate, House approve bill lowering power rates
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the House of Representatives have approved the Murang Kuryente bill, which seeks to reduce power rates by as much as P1 per kilowatt hour (kwh).

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, said that the Murang Kuryente measure seeks to remove the stranded contract cost and stranded debts under the universal charge, as these will be paid by the government’s share from the Malampaya fund.

Gatchalian said yesterday’s meeting was the second bicameral conference since the Department of Finance requested clarification on some of the provisions of the Murang Kuryente bill.

He thanked their counterparts in the House for the support and cooperation that led to the passage of the bill.

The bill seeks to reduce power rates by allocating the government’s share from the Malampaya natural gas project for payment of the stranded contract costs and stranded debts, missionary electrification and environmental charges of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and the feed-in-tariff allowance.

The bill proposes to use the P207-billion Malampaya fund to pay for the items, which are being passed on to consumers through the universal charge in the monthly electric bill.

With the measure, consumers can save more than P0.84 per kwh.

The Murang Kuryente is one of five energy bills filed during the 17th Congress. The others are the Anti-Obstruction Power Lines, electric cooperative resiliency fund, energy efficiency and conservation act and electric virtual one-stop bills.

Meanwhile, the Senate will prioritize the approval of a bill seeking higher taxes on tobacco before it goes on a break.

Gatchalian said the additional taxes to be collected would help fund the universal health care program of the government.

The Senate’s version of the measure seeks to bring the tobacco tax to P60 per pack over five years, from the current P32.

He said bicameral meetings between the Senate and the House can be scheduled on the weekend with the following weekdays dedicated to the bill’s approval.

Gatchalian said he supports the measure, which aims to discourage Filipinos from smoking.

He said they only have two weeks or six session days before the end of the 17th Congress.

MURANG KURYENTE BILL SHERWIN GATCHALIAN
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