By Myrna M. Velasco
Collections of universal charges from Filipino consumers via the electric bills already soared to P140.17 billion as of the latest reckoning date this year, according to data from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.
Of the total, PSALM noted that it already disbursed P138.67 billion to relevant beneficiary-agencies and stakeholders; while P156 million accounted for interest charges.
That left the PSALM-administered special trust fund (STF) for UC collections then having a remaining balance of P1.659 billion.
Bulk of the UCs collected from ratepayers had been for missionary electrification (UC-ME) or those funneled to the Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) of the National Power Corporation at P74.883 billion.
Coming in next were universal charges for NPC’s stranded contract costs at P62.088 as of January this year; while collections for stranded debt-UCs hovered at marginal P702 million.
The stranded contract costs shall refer to costs of the capacity contracted from the independent power producers (IPPs) that may not be recovered from the market; while stranded debts would refer to financial obligations that cannot be paid by NPC’s privatization proceeds.
Environmental charge-UC collections, on the other hand, reached P2.039 billion; while those for renewable energy developer cash incentive amounted to P461 million.
“P74.895 billion and P1.491 billion were paid to NPC, chargeable against the UC-ME and EC fund,” PSALM said; while emphasizing that such is in accordance with rules set forth by the Energy Regulatory Commission and the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.
The state-run firm added “P62.048 billion was transferred from the UC-SCC special trust fund account to PSALM’s UC-SCC special fund account following Board-approved guidelines and procedures on disbursement and utilization” of the universal charges.
For the collected cash incentives for RE, PSALM indicated that P236 million had been paid to RE developers, particularly for the 900-kilowatt Cantingas mini-hydro power project; the 1.5-megawatt Hitoma 1 and 2; and the 2.1MW Solong hydroelectric power plants; and the 2.1MW Linao-awayan mini-hydro power plant.