A BILL has been filed at the House of Representatives which would allow the government to operate and own power plants in the interest of ensuring sufficient reserves, promising to reverse decades of privatization in the industry.

The bill, “An Act Mandating the Government to Construct, Operate, And Maintain Power Generating Assets to Ensure Grid Stability,” seeks to amend Section 47 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which governs the privatization of the National Power Corp. (NPC).

The bill would authorize the NPC to generate and sell electricity, and to own and construct power plants in every grid. It will be tasked with ensuring that reserve levels are equivalent to the capacity of the biggest power plant in each grid.

The bill further proposes that the Agus and Pulangui Hydro Electric Plants Complexes be permanently exempt from privatization in order to keep Mindanao power rates low.

In a statement Monday, the Power Bloc Party-list said the bill is its response to the recent hearings in Congress on the surge in the cost of electricity and the shortage of power which triggered rotational brownouts last month.

“As the representatives of 121 electric cooperatives and member-consumer-owners, the Power Bloc firmly believes that if the government will be allowed to intervene through operating and generating its own plants, there will be enough supply to ensure grid stability and power supply reliability, and thereby mitigating electricity price volatility,” it added. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago