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Bayan Muna seeks House probe on electrification missionary subsidies hike

/ 03:12 PM April 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna on Sunday renewed its call for a hearing regarding the increase in budget subsidy for missionary projects for electrification amid nearing power rate hikes.

The group made the statement following the proposed power hike for National Power Corporation’s (NAPOCOR) consumers due to missionary charges.

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Missionary subsidies are given to areas not yet connected to the country’s main grids, as mandated by R.A. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Bayan Muna representative Carlos Isagani Zarate called for the House of Representatives to probe the increase in budget subsidy for missionary projects for electrification and protect consumers.

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“We hope that the House leadership can schedule a hearing as soon as possible because we need to protect consumers from another onerous charge,” Zarate said.

Zarate added that the hike will be a “another burden to our already suffering consumers”, citing the effects brought by TRAIN Law.

“For national consumers this would mean a  P0.1948 per kilowatt hour if the the proposal of the National Power Corporation  or NAPOCOR pushes through,” said Zarate.

“In concrete terms; these charges for households consuming 200 kwh per month would mean an increase to P38.96 of their Universal Charges-Missionary Electrification (UC-ME), P58.44 for 300 kwh households, and P77.92 for 400 kwh households,” he added.

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares, meanwhile, called for the government and concerned consumer organizations to oppose the increase, stating that “there seems to be something with these missionary fees.”

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has scheduled a series of hearings regarding the power hike.

Last November, Zarate filed House Resolution 2287, questioning the increase in subsidies from 2014 to 2016, and the projected increase by 2020.  

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According to Zarate, the subsidy was at P6.16 billion in 2014, P11.81 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach P19.35 billion in 2020. /je

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