August 05, 2019
THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) was recently urged to implement the rules on competitive bidding in power supply agreements (PSAs), instead of calling on the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its ruling on the matter.
ERC has filed a motion for reconsideration before the SC in a bid for a reexamination of its decision on the competitive bidding of PSAs.
In a statement over the weekend, Romeo Junia, member of United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) and Power for People Coalition (P4P), called on ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Agnes Devanadera to “immediately withdraw” the motion for reconsideration “for the larger interest of the consumers.”
Junia, in his letter to Devanadera dated July 31, 2019, urged the ERC to finalize, approve, and enforce the competitive selection process (CSP) for uniform compliance prior to any filing of PSA application.
To recall, the high tribunal ruled in May that all PSA applications submitted to the ERC on or after June 30, 2015 must undergo CSP. It stemmed from a complaint filed by consumer group Alyansa ng Bagong Pilipinas Inc. in 2016. CSP is designed to protect consumers. Rules under them require distribution utilities (DUs) to get at least two offers for power supply before awarding a deal, ensuring that consumers get the least cost.
Junia reiterated that Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), one of the respondents to the case, has accepted the SC resolution and commenced its competitive bidding earlier this month to procure its own power supply. However, the ERC opted otherwise. He pressed the ERC to return all PSA applications of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) for their compliance with CSP prior to re-filing as well as grant the joint motion to withdraw lodged by Meralco and Global Luzon Energy Development Corp. (GLEDC).
GLEDC is planning to construct a 670-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in a 41-hectare area in Barangay Carisquis, Luna municipality. Junia said he brought the matter to the Office of the President for the immediate and full enforcement of the CSP for the benefit of electricity end-users.
“Sir, we urgently appeal for your intervention on behalf of consumers who are captive customers of utilities and victims of regulatory failures. You just recently reconstituted the ERC with new blood. We welcome the new possibilities in their coming. But the ERC MR does not at all inspire,” he said in his letter to President Rodrigo Duterte dated July 31, 2019. “Please hold the ERC accountable to a standard aligned with your government’s commitment to the protection and promotion of larger public interests,” he added.
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