Duterte signs law to lower electricity cost by using Malampaya earnings

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) – President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law that will lower the cost of electricity in Filipino households.

Signed on August 8, 2019, the Murang Kuryente Act (Republic Act 11361) aims to reduce electricity rates by allocating a portion of the net national government share from the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project, which involves natural gas exploration and extraction from the depths of the sea off Palawan. The Malampaya project is a joint venture between the government and the private sector.

A total of ₱208-billion from the Malampaya Fund will be used to settle the stranded contract costs and stranded debts of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) to Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. At present, these costs are passed on to consumers as part of the Universal Charge (UC) collected monthly by distribution utilities.

The law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general publication, a copy of the law stated.

In the same vein, Duterte also approved Republic Act (RA) 11371 or the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, which aims to ensure continuous electricity flow and less power outages across the country.

RA 11371 will disallow the planting of tall growing plants, constructing hazardous improvements, and conducting any hazardous activity within the power line corridor, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, author of the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, earlier said in a statement.

Gatchalian also lauded Duterte for his "timely signing" of the measure, saying "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."