Gatchalian: Malampaya fund can be used to bring down electricity rates

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The Malampaya offshore gas field -- HMC.HEEREMA.COM

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Monday, July 30, sees the bill allocating the P204 billion Malampaya funds to cover universal charge as the fastest and simplest measure of reducing the cost of electricity in the country.

“After thorough study on the various bills being proposed in the Senate, the chair deems it that this bill is one of the fastest, one of the simplest and one of the clearest ways of reducing our electricity bill,” said Mr. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, during the legislative hearing on the proposed measure.

Senate Bill No. 924 or the proposed Cheaper Electricity Bill Act, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto in 2016, seeks to allocate the net national government share from the Malampaya natural gas project for the payment of the stranded contract costs (SCC) and stranded debts (SD) of the National Power Corp. (Napocor).

Based on the computations of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), applying the P204 billion Malampaya fund would avoid an increase of P0.874 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in retail power rates. This would result in annual savings of P2,033.76 for an average household consuming 200 kWh monthly.

Mr. Gatchalian said the committee is now studying the proposed measure on precisely how much of the remaining Malampaya funds should be applied for the purpose.

The Malampaya project is a joint undertaking of the national government and the private companies Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and PNOC Exploration Corp. The gas find is expected to run out around 2022 to 2024. — Camille A. Aguinaldo