Consumer group backs ERC’s promotion of power of choice

by The Standard Business –  June 14, 2016 at 10:55 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Action for Consumerism and Transparency in Nation Building said it supports the Energy Regulatory Commission’s 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.

Ryan Baccay of Action said the move under the retail competition and open access scheme would allow a wider scope of electricity consumers the right to choose their own power suppliers, giving them the option to source cheaper and more efficient electricity.    He said consumers who wanted to buy cleaner electricity like solar or wind could also do so under RCOA.

Baccay said with the lowering of the 1-megawatt average peak demand to 750-kilowatt threshold, factories, shopping malls, buildings, electric rail systems and large subdivisions could now source their power requirements from a generation company of their ‘choice’ that could afford them lower cost and more efficient electricity.

He said with the threshold eventually going down to 500 kw and aggregation encouraged, the benefits of RCOA would soon reach the level of residential customers and would impact the lives of all electricity consumers.

ERC earlier issued the RCOA rules that modified the present system where customers were not given the choice of suppliers, and were 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 competitive retail electricity barket based on their level of demand.

Only large customers with an average peak demand of at least 1 MW are currently 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.

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

Baccay said competition had always been a pro-consumer advocacy as it led to more choices for consumers and better service for service providers. He said more consumer groups would come out in the succeeding days to support RCOA.