183 major power users switch to new retailers

by Alena Mae S. Flores – March 06, 2017 at 08:27 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Around 183 contestable customers pushed through and participated in the voluntary open access regime despite the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order on mandatory migration to new retail electricity suppliers.

Philippine Electricity Market Corp. manager for training and communications Philip Adviento said as of Feb. 26,  154 contestable customers with 1-megawatt threshold and 29 users with 750-kilowatt monthly consumption continued to switch to their chosen retail electricity suppliers.

Adviento said about 745 contestable customers, or those with 1-MW and 750-KW power requirements, registered with PEMC as of Feb, 26, 2017. PEMC, which operates that country’s Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, also acts as the central registration body for open access, a key provision in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 which allows power customers to choose their own suppliers.

The Supreme Court issued a TRO on Feb. 21 stopping the Energy Department from implementing the mandatory retail competition and open access regime for users with at least 1-MW requirement. The Energy Department and the Energy Regulatory Commission approved the implementation of the mandatory RCOA regime starting Feb. 26.

ERC spokesman Rexie Digal said while the mandatory implementation of the scheme was stopped, the voluntary implementation continued.

“Yes, voluntary implementation [of RCOA] is ongoing,” Digal said.

Adviento, however, said 144 contestable customers deferred their contracts because of the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.

The Energy Department asked the Supreme Court to immediately decide on the case filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, San Beda College Alabang, Inc., Ateneo de Manila University and Riverbank s Development Corp.

The complainants said that under the mandatory implementation of RCOA, they would suffer grave and irreparable injury because they would be disconnected from the distribution utility or made to pay a supplier of last resort a 10-percent premium between the higher contract cost and the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

“We pray that the SC decides on the issue immediately,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.

Retail competition and open access, as envisioned by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, is expected to bring down power costs and give customers the power to choose their own suppliers.

The department is looking at the issuance of new rules for the scheduled mandatory contestability for the contestable customers with 750-kilowatt to 999-kilowatt average peak demand which is supposed to take effect on June 26, 2017