Consumers may pay for anti-blackout program

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2015 10:27 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2015 06:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The House and Senate remain deadlocked on who will pay for an anti-blackout program, meaning consumers may have to pay the full cost.

House energy committee chairman Rey Umali said no more meetings are being scheduled because he says the Senate won't budge on the issue of who will pay for the so-called Interruptible Load Program.

"The Senate wouldn't want to reconvene bicam unless House agrees to pass-on provision. House stands firm on the no-pass provision. So we are 'stalemated'," he said.

Under the program, big consumers like buildings, malls and factories will switch to their own generators if the government sees a shortage coming.

They will be compensated for the extra cost of generating their own power.

The Senate wants consumers to pay for that, but the House wants it charged to the government's earnings from the Malampaya gas field.

Senate energy chairman Sergio Osmena said this will just cost consumers 1 to 2 centavos per kilowatthour, so a household using 200 kwh per month will have to pay P8 at most.

"The Interruptible Load Program is estimated to cost the consumer betwee 1 and 4 centavos per kilowatthour. So if one consumes 200 kilowatthours per month, his May bill will increase P2 to P8," he said.

He said one reason he is against charging Malampaya for the Luzon blackouts is that parts of the Visayas and Mindanao have already been on the program since 2010 and they paid for it.

"If the government were to subsidize this, we would be faced with demands for refunds form customers in the Visayas and Mindanao who have been paying for this ILP charge since 2010," the senator said. - ANC