Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sen. Hontiveros Urges Gov’t To Expand Economic Relief To Electricity Consumers

MOST READ

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday urged the government to aggressively provide more measures to further cut electricity costs to ease the burden of Filipinos facing economic uncertainty due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The government should take urgent action and come up with all possible forms of financial relief to ensure the economic survival of Filipino families and businesses,” she said.

During the Joint Congressional Energy Commission hearing on the effects of the COVID-19 on the power sector, Hontiveros urged Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and other members of the sector such as the Department of Energy (DOE) to immediately exercise their regulatory powers pursuant to their mandate of ensuring power rates are reasonable and affordable, especially in this extraordinary time. “The Filipino people has always been carrying the burden of high electricity rates na lalo pang pinabigat ng krisis. Stakeholders should sacrifice short term profitability to help unload the public of this baggage,” she added.

Hontiveros proposed the cancellation of VAT charges on electricity bills to complement the deferred and staggered payment options imposed by ERC on distribution utilities such as Meralco. This will hasten the financial difficulty of consumers who lost their income source during the quarantine period.

“At the end of the day, consumers still need to foot the bill in its full amount. Paano kung walang pagkukunan dahil nawalan ng trabaho?” she said. “Dapat tulungang mabawasan man lang ang kailangan nilang bayaran.”

Assuming that the applied VAT rate is 10%, a household with an average monthly consumption of 100 kilowatt per hour (KWH) can save at least P100, once VAT is waived. “Every peso counts in this pandemic. Savings from uncharged VAT will provide an indirect support to consumers, pandagdag sa pambili ng pagkain o sa iba pang bayarin.” she added.

Aside from cancelling VAT charges, Hontiveros explained that ERC should urgently suspend controversial rate collections such as the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) under the transmission charge of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) which is almost twice the global average.

“The rate of 15% is under review and while it is pending evaluation, ERC can temporarily peg it at global standard of 8%,” she said. “Review of power rate increase applications should also be extra rigorous and carefully evaluated.”

Likewise, the Senator urged DOE to further explore its Competitive Selection Process (CSP) policy guideline for power supply contracts which according to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s report in last year’s budget hearing, has lowered power rates among distribution utilities.

“The measure was able to reduce at least P2.00 per kilowatt-per-hour in covered areas under Meralco franchise. This is a substantial amount that can reduce the monthly electricity bills of consumers,” she said.

Hontiveros said that despite privatization, the power sector is still imbued with public interest and remains a legitimate interest of the State especially during this time of crisis.

“We are now living in an extraordinary time. Shared responsibility and accountability are expected from the energy sector, not just to tide us over this economic catastrophe, but to help us adapt to the “new normal” moving forward,” she concluded.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Spox Roque: DepEd Ready For School Opening In August

Malacañang has expressed confidence that the Department of Education (DepEd) is ready for the scheduled opening of classes on August 24 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Gatchalian: CBMS Law To Correct Inefficiencies In SAP Distribution

Gatchalian urges the government to use the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Act to ensure efficient distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Gov. Defensor Jr.: Iloilo Is Now Preparing For MGCQ

Iloilo Province is already adjusting quarantine guidelines as its general community quarantine (GCQ) will end on May 31.

Mayor Joy To Strictly Implement Order On Wearing Of Face Masks In Public Places

Belmonte: “Dahil face mask ang isa sa pangunahing depensa laban sa COVID-19, paiigtingin natin ang kampanya upang masanay ang lahat na magsuot nito sa mga pampublikong lugar.”

Pres. Duterte Eases Community Quarantine Status

PRRD has placed the rest of the country under modified general community quarantine effective June 1.

Albay Rep. Salceda Proposes 35-Hour Work Scheme

Sang-ayon ka bang bawasan ang work hours?

Pres. Duterte, Vietnam PM Commit To Stronger Ties, Stable Rice Supply

In a telephone conversation requested by the PM, both leaders underscored the importance of maintaining adequate supply of staple food and critical medical equipment to successfully combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Gatchalian: Government Should Implement EVOSS Law Now

Gatchalian assures the Filipinos that he will make sure EVOSS will become a law as it will be very helpful in processing energy-related permits at times like this— when social distancing is essential.

Mayor Magalong: Baguio City’s Successful Contact Tracing Due To ‘Quality Info’

Mayor Magalong reveals how they achieved the successful contract tracing in Baguio City.

DA Sec. Dar Appoints James Reid As Food Security Ambassador

Curious ka rin ba kung bakit si James Reid ang bagong Department of Agriculture ambassador? Sinagot 'yan ni Sec. Dar!