Bicam deadlocked over joint resolution on emergency powers

By , on March 9, 2015

(Malacanang stock photo)
(Malacanang stock photo)

MANILA — The bicameral conference committee ended up in stalemate on Monday after both panels of Congress failed to agree on pass-on provision of the Joint Resolution No. 12, granting President Benigno Aquino III special authority to address the imbalanced power supply this summer in the Luzon grid.

In the second bicam meeting, the Senate panel pressed for pass-on scheme amounting to four centavos per kilowatt hour while using the interruptible load program (ILP) by tapping the Malampaya Funds as subsidy.

The House panel, however, insisted the no-pass-on method and instead pushed for Malampaya Fund as the sole source of fund for subsidy to the participants of the ILP in generating additional power capacity.

Senator Serge Osmena, head of the Senate panel, said the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) mandates that any expenses for the acquisition of additional power supply should be pass on to the consumers.

”We have to treat everybody equally and you are getting what you want except that you want to get it in a certain way which is against the policy of the EPIRA because it should be pass through. So that’s where we’re stuck,” Osmena said.

Osmena also said it was not proper that government would shoulder all the expenses in generating additional supply for Luzon grid when the consumers of Cebu and Davao were paying the use of ILP.

”I agree to providing the money but don’t use the conduct of the non-pass through because this is already established practice in the EPIRA. They opposed. I cannot understand their reasons,” Osmena said.

Asked when the bicam meeting will resume, Osmena said: “I don’t know when. It could be tomorrow. Don’t worry everything will be fine.”

”If we meet again, that’s another bicam. But as of now we have not scheduled when the next bicam would happen. We are going to sleep on it tonight, think about it,” Osmena said.

Osmena raised the possibility that the bicam won’t be able to pass the Joint Resolution No. 12, which President Aquino asked from Congress in September last year to grant him authority to address power crisis.

”Yes, there’s a possibility we won’t but believe me the ILP is working anyway. This resolution will only empower but the powers all exist under various laws already,” Osmena said.

The ILP is where the big companies will be tapped to use their respective generator sets to ease the power consumption in the Luzon grid.