What happens if Congress fails to pass 'special powers' for PNoy

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2015 01:59 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2015 09:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - House Energy Committee chairman Reynaldo Umali said a failure to pass the emergency powers resolution for President Aquino may mean consumers would have to bear the cost of the interruptible load program (ILP).

"Yun ang other bad repercussion dahil protocol ngayon pass through. Kailangan ng emergency power, doon malagay na di dapat pass through sa consumers ito," he said.

The ILP is a government program where private companies with their own power generating facilities can be tapped to supply additional power to the national grid if there is a shortage.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, any ILP costs will be passed onto consumers.

However, the proposed joint resolution granting Aquino additional powers to contract additional generating capacity to address a power shortage in Luzon this summer seeks to guarantee that pass through costs for ILPs during that period will instead be charged to the Malampaya fund.

Umali defended the choice of the ILP as the way out of the looming crisis.

"ILP, as we speak, may report sa akin na more than 1000MW nag-enroll sa ILP, at almost 400 particpants na ang sumali sa ILP. If we're looking at efficiency rating of 75 percent, this will run 750MW, more than double than what exec proposed which is 300MW that would cost P6 billion. Eto ang guestimate namin P100 million per month of operation. Yun kung may maggamit, kung walang gasutin, kung walang mag-breakdown baka di tawagin ILP," he said.

Under the joint resolution, companies who register will be paid by government. Those who don't but are still tapped will not be paid.

This is one of the two remaining sticking points for the joint resolution that remains pending before the bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House.

While the House advocates for the use of the Malampaya fund, the Senate panel wants a status quo, which means pass through costs for consumers.

The other sticking point is the life of the resolution -- the House wants it to be valid only for March to July 2015, while the Senate wants it to last until 2016.

"Lahat napagkasunduan except for two sticky points -- one is time frame kasi ang Senado gusto nila joint resolution will also cover energy security concerns. Therefore if that is the case, ang tingin nila crisis mag-extend pa hanggang June 2016, parang gusto nila extend hanggang June 2016. Sa amin 5 months lang kami at yan March to July hindi namin alam anong cost for another 1 year," Umali said.

"The second point is the most contentious of all is 'pass on' which is version of Senate. Sa amin, government assuming the cost through Malampaya whether subsidy or incentive. Sa amin basta importante, endgame namin taongbayan walang balikatin na additional cost," he added.

Lawmakers failed to convene the third bicam meeting on Monday pending additional data from stakeholders.

Umali maintained that the house is not a party to any ploy to derail the passage of the bill.

"When you talk of a ploy this must be conspiracy of all parties. It cannot be a ploy. We cannot be part of that conspiracy," he said.

Congress goes on summer vacation on March 18.

Umali is confident the bill can still be approved before then.

"Kaya pa naman. This has been certified as urgent... It can be done we can do this in a day. Only thing we need to do is agree and it will be referred to the different chambers. We will ratify it this only takes about 1 plenary session," he said.

The supposed power crisis stems from the month-long maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas field during the summer.