18th Congress to probe power, water utilities providers



By Rose de la Cruz


Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy vowed to scrutinize the operations of power and water utilities companies for their poor delivery of service to the detriment of public interest.


Congress will clean up the water mess if the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the water concessionaires cannot.


Making Metro Manila residents suffer through a second round of water service cut-offs merits tougher rebuke and deeper probe by Congress, said Herrera-Dy who is also the secretary-general of the Party-list Coalition.


"We have given MWSS and the electricity sector enough time to solve the persistent problems with their public utility services," said Herrera-Dy.


"It is now time to clean up the mess and among the areas we shall focus on is declaring the water concessionaires as public utilities," she added.


“Our constituents have had enough of the poor service, the continuing lack of potable water, and the persistent brownouts. The voters made us aware of these issues and part of the mandate they gave us last May 13 is to solve these problems for good,” she stressed.


"Very soon after the 18th Congress convenes, we shall resume investigations on the water services and electricity services in Metro Manila and other parts of the country," she promised.


Herrera-Dy also said, "since the regulators have either been slow or inept or both at doing their job, we shall file a bill that will prescribe details of their regulatory powers."


“Public Utility declaration for water concessionaires has long been overdue," she said.


"Brownouts in many provinces is an almost daily burden. Mindoro, Panay Island, the Bicol Region, and other parts of the country suffer long brownouts and high electricity costs," Herrera-Dy pointed out.


"The Energy Regulatory Commission must revert to the rate of return base (RORB) vis a vis performance- based ratings. We will also look into whether MERALCO and the electric coops can be subjected to public utility classification and be subjected to 12 percent maximum RORB.”


"Kulang na nga ang kuryente, madalas at mahaba pa ang brownouts. Hindi tayo papayag magtagal pa ang ganyang sitwasyon," she said.


She said the overhaul of the public utilities law must be a legislative priority of the 18th Congress.


Consistent with the list of legislative priorities in the administration's 2017-2022 medium term plan, the 18th Congress would expedite passage of laws overhauling the ancient Public Service Act and declare water concessionaires as public utilities, a ranking lawmaker said.


"We have given MWSS and the electricity sector enough time to solve the persistent problems with their public utility services. It is now time to clean up the mess and among the areas we shall focus on is declaring the water concessionaires as public utilities," said Herrera-Dy.


"We shall also formally ask the Philippine Competition Commission and the Department of Justice to review all the water concession agreements and joint ventures in all water districts," the congresswoman added.


Herrera-Dy also said “Public Utility declaration for water concessionaires has long been overdue and National Electrification Administration overhaul is necessary to make the electric coops efficient.


She said the EPIRA law must be revisited so that government can form another National Power Corp. to effectively compete with the private power producers. EPIRA law must be government and consumer friendly, not just power producer and power distributor friendly,” Herrera-Dy added.


Herrera-Dy also said the Bagong Henerasyon Party-list will petition both the National Electrification Administration and the Energy Regulatory Commission to weed out all the poor-performing and non-performing power producers and distributors.

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020
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