GMA News Online : Marcos mulls amending EPIRA to bring down electricity prices

By TED CORDERO | GMA News Online

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said he is looking at amending the Arroyo-era Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to bring down the cost of electricity.

"We have to be very strict in enforcing EPIRA but beyond that we also have to look at possible amendments to EPIRA", he said at a press briefing, noting that some provisions of the law are already "outdated."

Marcos, however, did not specify which provisions of the EPIRA he wants to amend.

For years, several attempts have been made to amend the power industry reform law amid criticisms of its ineffectiveness to bring down power cost, but nothing progressed.

Enacted in 2001, EPIRA, a landmark pro-market reform, aims to ensure reliable and competitively priced electricity in the country. Among its salient features is the division of the electric power industry into four sub-sectors — generation, transmission, distribution, and supply — to ensure a level-playing field among players in the energy sector.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he has formed a team to look into which items in the electricity bills can be brought down further to ease the burden of consumers.

"In general, we have begun to see the areas kung saan tayo kukuha kung paano pababain ang singil sa kuryente [where we can bring down the cost of electricity]," he said.

On the proposal to scrap the value added tax on power generation, Marcos said, "That’s one of the things we're looking at."

He added that there are other areas where prices can be reduced further such as the spot market and transmission charges.

"I've been talking to some of the producers, sa ating energy production side natin, willing naman sila, naintindihan naman nila that this is an emergency situation [in our energy production side, they're willing and they understand that this is an emergency situation]," he said. —KBK, GMA News