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PSALM plans to cut debt by P25 billion this year

THE POWER SECTOR Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) is aiming to further bring down its debt by 6.45% this year, the Finance department said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Finance department quoted PSALM President Irene Joy Besido-Garcia as saying the state-run firm plans to cut its P381.72-billion outstanding debt at the end of 2020 by P24.63 billion.

PSALM reduced its debt stock by P40.3 billion last year, breaching the target of P10.18 billion. At the start of the year, its total obligations stood at P422.01 billion.

Ms. Besido-Garcia said the company is also planning to prepay P19 billion of its existing obligations with the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).

To boost revenues, PSALM plans to collect P10.33 billion in power sales by year’s end, although this is 20% lower than the P12.89 billion collected in 2020.

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PSALM also aims to collect P359 million from overdue or delinquent accounts by end-2021. Last year, it collected P2.61 billion.

The state-run company set a 98% collection goal for the universal charge (UC) after attaining the same rate in 2020. It also aims to have a 100% disbursement rate for the UC for missionary electrification and renewable energy (RE) development.

Ms. Besido-Garcia said P948.93 million worth of real estate and power assets of the PSALM are scheduled to be sold this year, including the Malaya Thermal Power Plant (MTTP) in Pililla, Rizal.

It disposed of P51.65 million worth of real property assets last year and collected deferred privatization proceeds worth P38.66 billion.

Ms. Besido-Garcia was quoted as saying that their average interest rate on borrowings has also been reduced to 4.17% by end-2020, from an average of 5.07% the year before. PSALM also increased the share of its domestic loans in its debt mix to 33.55% to minimize risks from foreign exchange fluctuations.

It remitted P92.24 million of dividends to the BTr last year to boost the government’s war chest against the coronavirus pandemic.

PSALM is a state-owned corporation created by law to manage the outstanding debt of National Power Corp. capital lease payments to independent power producer administrators, and other financial obligations of electric cooperatives to the National Electrification Administration and other government agencies.

It aims to privatize the power generation assets built during the crippling energy crisis in the 1990s. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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