COA orders PSALM to pay Sem-Calaca Power P477 million

By Lenie Lectura – May 7, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has ruled in favor of Consunji-led Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC), which demanded payment from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) in the amount of P477 million.

“Wherefore, premises considered, the Petition for Money Claim of SCPC against the PSALM, for payment of monetary award pursuant to the final and executory decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission in the amount of P476,703,077.96 plus interest at the rate of 6 percent per annum computed from the time of the extrajudicial demand up to the time of payment, less the time when the ERC granted the Motion for Reconsideration of the PSALM and required the SCPC to file its money claim to the Commission on Audit up to its actual filing, is hereby granted,” COA’s decision read.

In November 2017, a petition for money claim against PSALM was filed with the COA for the enforcement of the ERC decision, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

The COA in its April 22, 2019, decision stated it “agrees to uphold the ERC’s findings of fact as affirmed by the CA and SC.”

The COA also ruled that interest shall be computed at the rate of 6 percent per annum computed from the date of extrajudicial demand on August 4, 2010.

The case stemmed from a petition filed by SCPC against the National Power Corp. and PSALM to declare NPC’s nomination for the supply of electricity to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) beyond 169,000 kilowatts as invalid and to recover the amounts charged and withheld by PSALM for spot purchases cover the deficiency in connection with the NPC over nominations for Meralco for January to June 25, 2010.

PSALM argued the 169,000 kW of the Asset Purchase Agreement is not a cap to SCPC obligations but rather the 10.841 percent of Meralco’s requirement at any given time. SCPC, therefore, claimed the amount of P476,703,077.96 plus interest at 6 percent per annum computed from extrajudicial demand until actual payment.

The ERC in July 2011 already ruled in favor of SCPC. A motion for reconsideration was filed by PSALM, but was denied by ERC. Thereafter, a petition was elevated by PSALM to the CA, whose petition was likewise denied in September 2012 and affirmed the ERC ruling. Its motion for reconsideration was also denied by the CA in November 2012.

PSALM then filed a petition before the SC in December 2012, and subsequently a motion for reconsideration, which were both denied by the high court.

Thereafter, SCPC moved for remittance of the amount above-stated before the ERC. PSALM, however, opposed that money claim may be executed against a government-owned and/or -controlled corporation, the same must be filed before the COA.