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Solon wants probe on billions in missionary electricity subsidy

/ 11:35 AM November 07, 2018
Electricity Line Philippines Meralco

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A lawmaker is seeking a probe into billions in subsidy for electrification missionary projects being passed on to consumers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Resolution 2287 on Monday to question the increase in subsidies.

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Zarate noted that the missionary subsidy had skyrocketed from P6.16 billion in 2014 to P11.81 billion in 2016. Furthermore, the National Power Corp. (NPC) projects the subsidy to rise to P19.35 billion by 2020.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 mandates missionary subsidies for areas not connected to the main grid.

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The subsidy is charged against the Universal Charges-Missionary Electrification (UCME) which is included in the monthly electricity bills.

Zarate said the charge has increased from P0.0454 per kWh (kilowatt hour) to P0.1163 in 2011 and P0.1561 in 2014. The NPC is seeking to increase it further to P0.1948 per kWh.

“These billions of additional charges are punishing electric consumers,” the Davao-based lawmaker said. He lamented that it was “contrary to the promised goal of reducing electricity rates.”

If the NPC request is approved, the UCME of households consuming 200 kWh per month will go up by P38.96, P58.44 for 300 kWh households, and P77.92 for 400 kWh households, he added.

Zarate said the additional charges would “aggravate the effect of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Law” and further burden consumers.

“We call on the House leadership to immediately schedule a hearing for this probe when Congress resumes its sessions next week. We need to protect our consumers from another onerous charge, particularly in this time of economic hardships,” he said. /cbb

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TAGS: Bayan Muna, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Electricity, Epira, House of Representatives, missionary electrification, National Power Corporation, news, NPC, subsidies, UCME, universal charge
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