Press Release
May 24, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara questioned yesterday the need to extend the life of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC), saying that some of its proposed oversight functions are already being carried out by certain executive agencies.

The JCPC was created under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to perform certain functions in aid of legislation, including overseeing the EPIRA's implementation, endorsing the privatization plan of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, and ensuring transparency in the privatization of the National Power Corporation's generation and transmission assets.

Ultimately, the EPIRA seeks to bring down electricity rates and improve the delivery of power supply to end-users by promoting competition and boosting efficiency in the electricity industry.

"One of the main purposes of the EPIRA law is to foster competition among power suppliers so that consumers get better service and value for their money. However, I don't think this has been accomplished yet in the 10 years since it was passed. Our electricity rates are among the highest in Asia," he said.

Angara argued during yesterday's interpellation that functions not structural in nature are can be monitored more capably by permanent Senate committee on energy or relevant executive agencies, rather than by an ad hoc congressional oversight body.

"It seems that except for the implementation of taxes, the rest of its functions can be overseen and monitored by the usual committees on energy," he said.

According to Angara, the EPIRA initially planned to reduce the power costs for end-users through the income from universal charge, which is included in electricity bills.

"Under the EPIRA, the proceeds from the collected universal charges will be channeled into liquidating and compensating the stranded costs of the power companies, although we have yet to see this happen," explained Angara.

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