By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law two electricity-related measures that would greatly lessen the burden for Filipino power consumers.
Gatchalian is referring to Republic Act No. 11371 or the “Murang Kuryente Act” which seeks to allocate the P208-billion of the proceeds of the net national government share from the Malampaya natural gas project fund to cover the stranded debts and contract costs of the National Power Corporation (NPC), and Republic Act No. 11361, or the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act.
“Magiging abot-kamay na ng bawat Pilipino ang mas mababang kuryente na kay tagal nang pinapangarap ng bawat isa sa atin ngayong nilagdaan na ang Murang Kuryente Act (Each Filipino can now have easy access to lower electricity costs which they have longed for now that the ‘Murang Kuryente Act’ has been signed into law),” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte dahil sa wakas ay matutuldukan na rin ang paghihirap ng bawat power consumer sa pagpasan ng utang ng Napocor na siyang ipinapasa sa tao sa pamamagitan ng universal charge sa stranded debts (UC-SD) at stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) na bahagi ng singil sa atin sa kuryente (I am thankful that President Rodrigo Duterte has finally put a stop to the suffering of each power consumer who are burdened by the debts incurred by Napocor which they pass on to consumers as universal charge for stranded debts and stranded contract costs) which is part of our electricity bills),” the senator said.
Gatchalian said he expects power consumers to finally be relieved of payment for the UC-SCC at UC-SD in the next few months.
The senator said families consuming 200 kilowatt hour each month can expect a ₱172 slash in their current electricity bill per month. The amount is equivalent to at least three to four kilos of rice each month or one sack of rice annually.
“Ang pagpasa ng batas nito ay isang malaking tagumpay ng bawat Pilipino consumers tungo sa mas abot-kayang kuryente para sa lahat (Its passage into law is a victory for Filipino consumers towards more affordable electricity for all),” Gatchalian said.
The senator also said he is relieved that the President also signed the measure that seeks to put in place a mechanism for safer utilization of power transmission lines.
“Prevention is always better than cure, as the adage goes. And now that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, we will now be able to put in place a mechanism that will allow for the responsive maintenance and rehabilitation of transmission, sub-transmission, and distribution lines, which would prevent outages and ensure continuous supply of electricity,” Gatchalian said.
“The measure is timely for the rainy season when powerful typhoons barrel through our country,” he said.
Republic Act No. 11361 outlines the duties and responsibilities of power line owners and operators in preventing and removing any disturbances or obstructions to the power lines, whether located on public or private property.
The law authorizes power line owners and operators to seek the assistance of local government officials, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the discharge of their duties.
“Again, we thank the President for the timely signing of this measure, which ensures the uninterrupted conveyance of electricity from the power generating plants all the way to the end users – the consumers, business, and vital installations in the country,” Gatchalian said.