PSALM eyes more asset sales to lower universal charge

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2011 07:45 PM | Updated as of Jul 02 2011 03:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) will push for the sale of the remaining major assets of the National Power Corp. (Napocor), including the Unified Leyte geothermal power plants, this year to bring down the universal charge (UC) to be collected from consumers.

In a statement, PSALM president and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. said PSALM can lower the UC if they could sell the assets at the soonest possible time, and best possible price.

Ledesma said aside from generating proceeds from the privatization, PSALM will be able to cut losses resulting from the operation and maintenance of the power plants.

PSALM will start the bidding process for the sale of the generating capacity of the Naga power plant complex in July 2011.

The sale of the generating capacities of the Unified Leyte geothermal plants and the Casecnan hydroelectric power plant will immediately follow, according to Ledesma. He said they will also bid out the Power Barges 101-104 before the year ends.

On Tuesday, PSALM filed a new petition before the Energy Regulatory Commission seeking to pass on P139 billion stranded debt and contract costs to consumers through the UC.

The agency proposed to collect a UC of P0.03 per kilowatt-hour over 15 years for the stranded debt, and P0.36/kWh over four years for contract costs.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, a UC will be imposed on all electricity end-users to cover payment of Napocor's stranded debt and stranded contract costs.

PSALM had sought to recover P470 billion debt and costs during the Arroyo administration, but the petition was withdrawn and revised by the Aquino administration.