REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION
TO STOP EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
THE COLLECTION OF THE NPC STRANDED
COSTS AND STRANDED DEBTS IN THE
CURRENT AMOUNTS OF Php 0.0543/kwh
and Php 0.0428/kwh OR ATOTAL OF
Php 0.0971 /kWh FROM ALL CONSUMERS
PURSUANT TO REPUBLIC ACT NO. 11371
OR THE “MURANG KURYENTE ACT”
ERC CASE NO.
ATTY. VICTORIO MARIO A.
DIMAGIBA, IN HIS PERSONAL
CAPACITY AND AS PRESIDENT OF
LABAN KONSYUMER INC.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
BUREAU OF TREASURY
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY
PRIVATE ELECTRIC POWER OPERATORS
Petitioners, thru the undersigned counsel, respectfully pleads as follows, to wit:
1. That Petitioner Dimagiba is Filipino, with TIN No 120-134-466, of legal age, married and a resident of No. 5 Elgin Street, Brgy. Fairview, Quezon City, 1118 where he may be served with pleadings, appearances, motions, notices, orders, resolutions, the judgment, and other Commission processes.
2. That Petitioner Dimagiba is a consumer protection advocate, a member of the Philippine Bar since 1973 and a member of the New York State Bar since 1986. He worked for 19 years as a lawyer in Petron Corporation until 1994, then as a lawyer and later as Vice President and General Manager in the PNOC Petrochemical Development Corporation until 2003 and was appointed to the Department of Trade and Industry as Director of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection in 2005. He later served as Undersecretary for the Consumer Protection Group until the end of his term on July 31, 2016.
3. That Petitioner Laban Konsyumer Inc., or Laban Konsyumer, is a non-stock and non-profit corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines that seeks to help, protect, and empower consumers on their rights and responsibilities. Laban Konsyumer Inc. may be served with pleadings, appearances, motions, notices, orders, resolutions, the judgment, and other Court processes through counsel at the address indicated below.
4. That Petitioner Laban Konsyumer is an accredited consumer organization of the Department and Trade and Industry, under Certificate of Recognition CPAB No. C-0001, and a full-term member of the Consumers International under Membership Number F -3058, an association of more than 250 consumer associations from 120 countries. Laban Konsyumer has 100 registered members nationwide as recorded in the organization’s Membership Book. Its primary mandate is advocacy on consumer rights and responsibilities as well as advocacy on reasonable and fair prices of basic necessities and prime commodities. It has power to sue under its corporate charter.
5. That Respondents Department of Energy, PSALM Corporation , Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management and Bureau of Treasury may be served with pleadings, appearances, motions, notices , orders, resolutions, judgment and other processes at the following addresses
a. Department of Energy – Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
b. PSALM Corporation, 24th Floor, Vertis North Corporate Center I, Astra corner Lux Drives, North Avenue, Quezon City.
c. Department of Finance, DOF Bldg. BSP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila.
d. Department of Budget and Management, Boncodin Hall, Gen. Solano St., San Miguel, Manila.
e. Bureau of Treasury, Ayuntamiento Bldg., Cabildo Street cor. A. Soriano Avenue, Intramuros, Manila.
6. That Nominal Parties Manila Electric Company ( Meralco ) and the members of the Private Electric Power Operators Association (PEPOA ) are included in the Petition for the purpose of notification inasmuch as they will implement any favorable decision in the Petition to stop the collection of universal charges , and they may be served with notices and processes in the address indicated below, to wit:
a. Manila Electric Company , Lopez Bldg., Ortigas Avenue, Brgy. Ugong, Pasig City.
b. PEPOA, 7/F, Strata 100, F. Ortigas Jr., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
7. That Republic Act 11371 or the Murang Kuryente Act, was signed on August 8, 2019, and took effect on August 29, 2019, fifteen (15 ) after its publication or uploaded in the Official Gazette on August 14, 2019.
8. The Murang Kuryente Act repealed Section 32 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 ( EPIRA) as the latter law allowed the universal charges to be passed on and collected from all end users on a monthly basis by the distribution utilities and “ reflected as a separate item in the consumer billing statement “ , in accordance with Section 10 on Repealing Clause of Republic Act 11371.
9. That considering the effectivity of the Murang Kuryente Act and the self-explanatory Declaration of Policy in Section 2 of the Act, the consumers should immediately enjoy the removal of the universal charges for stranded contract costs and stranded debts in their electric bills which amounts to Php 0.0971 /kWh.
10. That consumers are informed that under Section 4 of the Murang Kuryente Act, the sum of Php 208, 000,000,000.00 from the Malampaya Fund, shall be utilized for the payment of stranded contract costs and stranded debts transferred to and assumed by the Respondent Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation or PSALM.
11. That the same Section 4 provided that the universal charges being collected from the consumers including any anticipated shortfall may be covered by the allocated amount from the Malampaya Fund subject to the implementing rules and regulations.
12. That the implementing rules and regulations shall include requirements on allocation and utilization of the Malampaya Fund amongst the Respondents and the Nominal Parties , and is not a condition prerequisite to the entitlement of all end users to an immediate removal of the universal charges as an item in their billing statements as provided in the Act.
13. That consumers should not be involved nor affected in the procedures on allocation and appropriation of the Malampaya Fund in the General Appropriations Act nor in any loan borrowings to fund the Malampaya Fund. These are financial and budgeting responsibilities solely to be performed and discharged by the Respondents.
14. That the consumers should not be allowed to wait for the issuance and promulgation of the implementing rules and regulations to enjoy the removal of the sum of Php 0.0971 per kwh universal charges in their electricity bill until the issues and technicalities on budget allocations, loan borrowings and other financial matters, are resolved between and amongst the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Department of Energy and Respondent PSALM in the utilization of the Malampaya Fund. These are internal issues amongst the Respondents.
15. That as it stands now, the Respondents are beyond the statutory deadline of ninety (90) days from the effectivity of the Act, i.e. Section 7, to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the Act.
16. That consumers should fully enjoy the removal of the entire amount of Php 0.0971 per kwh immediately in their electric bills as any further delay in the removal of the universal charges works to the prejudice of the consumers as the amount of 5.43 centavos per kwh is scheduled to be fully paid by the consumers to Respondent PSALM by end of June 2020, quoting Ms. Myrna Velasco of Manila Bulletin Business News dated December 28, 2019 which quoted the Respondent PSALM President Ms. Irene Joy Garcia.
17. The same news report stated that the amount of 4.28 centavos of universal charges shall continue to be paid by the consumers till 2026.
18. Due to the effectivity of the Act, there are no more legal basis for PSALM to continue collecting from the consumers’ pockets the sum of approximately Php 5.0 Billion for 2020.
19. That the Honorable Commission are clothed with powers and functions under Republic Act No. 9136 or the EPIRA law to order Respondent PSALM to henceforth stop the collection of all universal charges from all end users immediately. They are as follows :
A. Section 2 (c )
B. Section 2 (f)
C. Section 2 (j)
D. Section 41 on Promotion of Consumer interest
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Petitioners respectfully pray that the Honorable Commission, henceforth order the Respondent PSALM Corporation to stop the collection of all forms of universal charges from the consumers and for the nominal parties Meralco and members of the PEPOA to remove all universal charges in the billing statement of all their customers . Petitioners pray for such other reliefs and remedies.
Quezon City for Pasig City, January 2, 2020.
ATTY. VICTORIO MARIO A. DIMAGIBA
No. 5, Elgin Street, Brgy. Fairview, Quezon City, 1118
PTR No. 7446842, Jan. 11, 2019
IBP No. AR 4719174, Jan. 11, 2019
MCLE VI- 0024985, valid till April 14, 2022
cc: (by registered mail)
BUREAU OF TREASURY
Notes: Filed January 3,2020