By MYRNA M. VELASCO
State-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) still has mammoth ₱95.45 billion worth of pending applications for universal charges (UCs) that are intended for pass-on in the electric bills of consumers, if cost reduction under the Murang Kuryente Act would not be implemented as targeted this year.
As culled from records of applications with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the pending recovery of universal charges for stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) would hover at ₱15.036 billion, based on PSALM’s proposed recoveries for years 2017 to 2019.
Meanwhile, on universal charges for stranded debts (UC-SD), pending applications amounted to ₱80.417 billion, according to the regulatory agency.
For the UC on stranded contract costs, the amount petitioned for by PSALM in July 2017 was at ₱3.686 billion; then in July 2018, it was at ₱5.228 billion; and finally in June 2019, it was at ₱6.121 billion.
For the UC-SD, the proposed recoveries had been spread from 2016 to 2019 as manifested in the series of applications of PSALM with the ERC.
The amount to be recouped on universal charges for stranded debts in 2016 had been placed at ₱27.670 billion; then another filing was made in July 2017 for ₱34.642 billion.
The succeeding years had been significantly lower amounts but still humongous at ₱11.804 billion based on application lodged in July 2018; and then there had been two filings in 2019 at ₱1.578 billion on June 6; and ₱4.722 billion on June 25.
ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera has indicated to media that if these pending UC applications will eventually be withdrawn and will no longer be set for pass-on in the electric bills, then they would bring massive financial relief in the pockets and paychecks of consumers.
The timing of actual reduction or non-pass on of the universal charges, however, is still debatable given some perceived delays in the implementation of the Murang Kuryente Act which targets to use the Malampaya fund to cover the UC items and for these not to be reflected anymore in the bills of consumers.