THE SENATE and House of Representatives are set to ratify next week the proposed “Murang Kuryente Act,” which could end up taking effect in September.

“Approved na ‘yung bicam, so ita-transmit na namin ‘to for ratification and next week, this coming week, ma-ra-ratify na namin ‘to (The bciameral conference committee approved it, so we will transmit it to the two chambers for ratification maybe by next week),” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, said in a briefing Thursday.

The legislation is known as House Bill 8869 and Senate Bill 1950 in the respective chambers. It proposes to lower power rates by, among other measures, the transfer of billions of pesos worth of Malampaya funds to help pay down debts incurred by the National Power Corp., according to the House version.

Mr. Gatchalian said once signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the law is expected to be implemented “around September.”

“We gave a time period of 90 days to draft the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) so from there ay makikita natin na ang bababa na ang presyo ng kuryente (we expect power prices to fall),” he added.

Funds from the government’s share of Malampaya revenue payment will cover NAPOCOR’s Stranded Contract Cost (SCC) and Stranded Debts (SD).

The SCC and SD are currently passed on to power consumers through the Universal Charge.

Medyo technical but ang concept nito is nagbabayad pa tayo ng utang ng NAPOCOR from the past. Makikita natin sa electricity bill natin na mayroon doong universal charges on stranded costs and stranded debts, lumalaki ‘yan at lalaki pa siya up to P1 per kilowatt hour (It’s a bit technical but the concept is we are still paying NAPOCOR debts from the past through the universal charge in our power bills… which will grow larger if not addressed. The impact is up to P1 per kilowatt hour),” Mr. Gatchalian said.

“So, para mapigilan ang paglaki niyan at matanggal ang current na binabayaran natin ngayon, gagamitin natin ang Malampaya fund para mabayaran ‘yun. So ‘yung current at future na babayaran natin na up to P1, tatanggalin na ‘yun (We plan to use the Malampaya funds to prevent the debt from growing and remove up to P1 of what consumers are currently paying).”

Also Thursday, the bicameral conference committee tackled House Bill No. 6276 and Senate Bill No. 2098, or the proposed “Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan