House bill seeks amendment to electricity pilferage law

Published October 17, 2021, 4:55 PM

by Manila Bulletin

A pending House of Representatives bill seeking to amend Republic Act No. 7832 or the “Anti-electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994” may just be the answer to curbing the illegal use of electricity and theft of electric power transmission lines and materials.

House Bill 414 or “An Act penalizing the illegal use of electricity, the theft and destruction of electric power lines, equipment, and materials, rationalizing system loss, repealing Republic Act No. 7832” is authored by Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo.

The said measure is a version of the bill filed by the late Pedro P. Romualdo, who was a five-term member of the Lower House as a representative of the lone district of Camiguin, during the 14th, 15th and 16th Congresses but unfortunately was not passed.

In his explanatory note on HB 414, Romualdo said that the proposed measure would bring better benefits to FIlipino consumers and also protect the property of industry players such as generation companies, transmission companies, and distribution utilities, including electric cooperatives and private utilities, from pilferage and destruction.

He also said that the new provisions would provide the judicial and executive departments a better description of the true intent of the legislature which will avoid executive or judicial legislation in the interpretation of the law.

Romualdo added that the issue on maximum cap for recoverable system loss was also ironed out with the inputs of industry players taken into account.

He said that electric providers will provide certain incentives to reward its consumers and distribution utilities with system losses way below the prevailing approved cap.

A separate mechanism will also provide how to treat system loss reduction which will be treated either as part of capital or operating costs of the distribution utilities.

RA 7832 was passed into law in 1994 during the 9th Congress with the legislative intent to control the illegal use of electricity and theft of electric power transmission lines and materials as well as provide penalties to discourage perpetrators from committing these offenses. (Melvin Sarangay)