ArchivesOctober 2010Recto: Defer power rate hike pending DOE review

Recto: Defer power rate hike pending DOE review

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Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday urged the Energy Regulatory Commission to hold approval of any petition for a power rate hike until the Department of Energy concludes its review of the contracts entered into by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. {{more}}

“And besides, PSALM still has a lot of explaining to do on why after almost 10 years and after selling almost 90 percent of our power generating assets, its debts still stand at $16.5 billion, or the same amount it was mandated to pay when it was created,” Recto, vice-chair of the Senate finance committee, said.

PSALM was created by Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 to manage the finances and privatization of the state- owned National Power Corp.

At present, the outstanding debt of Napocor reportedly stood at $16.5 billion, despite proceeds from privatization.

In the DOE budget hearing at the Senate last Monday, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said they are currently reviewing the contracts entered into by PSALM.

“We should wait for the results of this review. We cannot just burden our consumers or our taxpayers with a debt that should have been paid or drastically reduced by now,” Recto said.

Based on PSALM’s application, it would need to charge the consumers 30 centavos per kwh for 17 years. But during Monday’s hearing, it said it would decrease it to 18 centavos per kwh.

“The consumers have a right to know why their electric bills continue to increase. Those responsible for this financial mess should be made accountable,” Recto said.

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