October 2, 2010, 10:07pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Energy was asked on Saturday to investigate the series of increases in power rates in the country allegedly due to the so-called stranded debts of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).
In a Senate Resolution No. 57, Sen. Ralph Recto said the Senate should conduct an inquiry to determine why the huge debts of Napocor amounting to P470.86 billion are allegedly being passed on to consumers.
Recto also wanted to know what happened to the proceeds earned by the government from the privatization, excluding that of the subtransmission assets (STAs) that amounted to US$10.6 billion or roughly P470 billion.
Recto said that aside from the stranded debts, the consumers are being made to shoulder the P107.3-million intended for the salary, performance incentives and night differential pay of the employees and consultants of the company.
He wondered why some of the Napocor assets that were already sold are not be enough to pay its gargantuan debts.
Recto said the purpose of the investigation is to scrutinize the so-called Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) law which he said is not serving its purpose to reduce the power rates for the benefits of millions of consumers after its ten year implementation.
The senator warned that power rates are expected to increase by almost 30 centavos per kilowatt hour in the next 17 years if the government
does not act swiftly to address it.
Recto lamented that the Philippines is one of the countries in the world that has the highest electricity rates.
He believes that if the present trend continues, many foreign investors will hesitate to invest in the country due to high power rates.