Transco Transfer May Hike Power rates.(Business)

Article excerpt

Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO

Electricity rates have been forecast to go up with the proposed 50-year franchise that the government wants to be transferred to the future private sector concessionaire of the National Transmission Corporation.

The public utility franchise bill for Transco was passed by the House of Representatives and been sent to the Senate for proper action.

According to Party List Rep. Ernesto C. Pablo of the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), if the franchise is granted this would be a sale full of public pitfalls.

The solon disclosed that President Arroyo has been prodding Congress to fast track the passage of the measure, so the privatization of the National Power Corporation (NPC) can already be started.

Since Transco is a public utility and serves as the backbone of the countrys electricity industry, questions are being raised on the governments intention to surrender commercial control of the business to the assets concessionaire.

Transco, being likened to a toll road, is seen requiring high return on rate base, thus, such will definitely result in increased electricity prices. …