Action lauds ERC’s power-of-choice push in electricity sector

by BusinessMirrorJune 14, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Action for Consumerism and Transparency in Nation Building (Action) has lauded the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) move to implement the revised rules for contestability and the resolution imposing restrictions on the operations of distribution utilities and retail-electricity suppliers in the competitive retail-electricity market (CREM)under the Retail Competition and Open Access (Rcoa) scheme.

The move, Ryan Baccay of Action said, will allow a wider scope of electricity consumers the right to choose their own power suppliers, thus, effectively giving them the option to source cheaper and more efficient electricity.

In the same manner, those consumers who want to buy cleaner electricity, like solar or wind, albeit more expensive can do so under the Rcoa.

Baccay explained, with the lowering of the 1-megawatt average peak demand to 750-kilowatt threshold, factories, shopping malls, buildings, electric rail systems and large subdivisions may now source their power requirements from a generation company of their “choice” that can afford them lower cost and more efficient electricity, which would eventually lead in lower operations or production cost or both.

With the threshold eventually going down to 500 kW and aggregation encouraged, the benefits of RCOA will soon reach the level of residential customers and will surely make an impact on the lives of all electricity consumers.

The ERC earlier issued the Rcoa rules that modify the present system, where customers are not given the choice of suppliers, and are supplied by utility providers. As such, they are categorized as captive customers. With the lower thresholds set by the ERC, these captive customers are gradually allowed to join the CREM based on their level of demand.

Currently, only large customers with an average peak demand of at least one MW are allowed to choose their own suppliers of electricity on a voluntary basis. Starting June 26 of this year, the ERC will lower the threshold level to 750 kW. Thus, customers with a peak demand of at least 750 kW can contract with any Retail Electricity Supplier on a voluntary basis.

Among the benefits that can be gleaned from Rcoa, Baccay said, are competitive prices, value added services, ability to switch easily from one supplier to another, more transparent billing and convenience.

Baccay said competition has always been a pro-consumer advocacy as it leads to more choices for consumers and better service for service providers. According to him more consumer groups will come out in the succeeding days to support Rcoa.