Manila Standard : BBM wants to amend EPIRA law

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday revealed that he is seriously considering instituting amendments to the 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 in a press briefing.

He said some provisions of the law are already “outdated.” However, Marcos did not specify which provisions of the EPIRA he wants to be amended.

For years, several attempts have been made to amend the power industry reform law amid criticisms of its ineffectiveness to bring down power costs, 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 – aimed at ensuring a level-playing field among players in the energy sector.

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

“In general, we have begun to see the areas where we will take how to 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, on our energy production side, they are willing, they understand that this is an emergency,” he said.