Rep. Lobregat files bill making Napocor GOCC PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 July 2013 14:00

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat, is set to file a bill in Congress, representing his Mindanao colleagues’ own version of the Mindanao Power Act, which would make National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), an income-generating agency capable of paying its billions of pesos worth of debts, without the government’s help.

“Our (Mindanao congressmen) position here is that our hydro-electric power plants are the crown jewels of NAPOCOR, meaning, if there is really portion of NAPOCOR that is money-making, it is the hydro and the hydro electric plants here in Mindanao put our region in a competitive advantage, and that we have lower power rate”, Lobregat explained.

Lobregat said “due to this lower rate, private power companies are apprehensive in coming in because they could not compete with out rate”.

However, the 1st district solon clarified that once the Mindanao Power Act becomes a law, NAPOCOR, though a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), has to operate on its own without getting subsidy from the government.

“Our position is that hydro, Agus, and Pulangi (power plants) would remain in the hands of the government, but it should be a GOCC. It has to stand on its own, not being subsidized, however, it should earn,” explained Lobregat.

“So if an electric cooperative can not pay, NAPOCOR will not supply them with electricity,”Lobregat explained.

Lobregat said that several electric cooperatives’ inability to pay, plus NAPOCOR’s debts have become too hemorrhaging for said government agency, that is why, there is the EPIRA law, a law that allows power cooperatives to restructure payments of their debts with NAPOCOR.

At the same time, Lobregat said, that once established, even although a GOCC, NAPOCOR will operate like a private power firm, but has to sell electricity to its clients at a reasonable rate.

“If it will cost them (NAPOCOR) P2 to P3 to produce power out of its hydro power plants, they can sell it to their customers at P7 or P8 per kilowatt-hour. They just have to make sure, that their rate will not be too high, nor too low, and they will be able to pay for their capital expenditures (CAPEX), as well as, their debts,” Lobregat said.

Meanwhile, the former mayor-turned congressman said that NAPOCOR should also have to look for other power sources, like renewable energy or other forms that would further boost its money-making operations. — Philip Abuy