Senate OKs 'special powers' for PNoy

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2015 05:19 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2015 01:19 AM

MANILA – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a measure that grants President Aquino special powers to prevent blackouts this summer without having to lease new generator sets that could cost electricity consumers billions of pesos.

Sixteen senators voted to approve the joint resolution that aims to prevent a power shortage in the hot summer months, when electricity consumption is at its peak. No one objected nor abstained.

Among others, the Senate's version of Joint Resolution 12 passed on Monday seeks to implement the interruptible load program (ILP), which would provide incentives to big establishments like malls which use their generator sets in order to consume less power from the Luzon grid especially during peak hours.

Compensation for participants in the ILP will come mainly from consumers and partly from the Malampaya Fund.

Senator Sergio Osmena III, the measure's sponsor, had estimated that the additional electricity cost would be one to two centavos per kilowatt hour.

Osmena had also argued that contracting new power generators, which the administration originally requested, would cost P6 billion over two years with consumers bearing the burden through higher electricity bills reaching 35 centavos per kilowatt hour.

The Senate will have to reconcile its version of the measure with the House of Representatives' in a bicameral conference committee, which will begin on Tuesday, March 3.

Senators Osmena, TG Guingona, Gregorio Honasan, Nancy Binay, and Loren Legarda will represent the Senate in the meeting.