DOE extends deadline on mandatory RCOA

By Myrna M. Velasco – November 18, 2016, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) has concurred with the bid of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on February, 2017 deadline extension of the mandatory phase of retail competition and open access (RCOA), primarily for the 1.0-megawatt contestability threshold.

This was indicated to reporters by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, stressing that the energy department needed to weigh the concerns of the affected segment of the consumers, hence, they had to strike a compromise with ERC on an extended timeframe.  The original deadline was December this year.

Cusi qualified though that mandatory contestability for the next threshold of 750 kilowatts (kW) shall be maintained at the prescribed timeline of June, 2017.

ERC Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar acknowledged that “the Secretary and I agreed on February deadline during our meeting last week.”

On record, mandatory RCOA will be the phase when contestable customers or the end-users can already exercise their freedom of choice on supply procurement and can already contract directly with their preferred retail electricity suppliers.

Salazar qualified that “while our internal technical staff recommended a later date for mandatory contestability, I insisted on the said date at Tuesday’s (November 15) Commission meeting.” The ERC is a collegial body, hence, its Chairman has to secure the approval of most of its members if not the entire Commission for any relevant decision that they shall prescribe for the restructured electricity sector.

The ERC chairman reiterated “the Commission resolved to move the implementation of mandatory migration for contestable customers with 1.0MW and up average peak demand, to 26 February, 2017.”

He further laid down that “contestable customers which fail to finalize a retail supply contract (RSC) with a retail electricity supplier (RES) shall have the option to be served by the distribution utilities as a supplier of last resort.”

Salazar similarly emphasized that in light of RCOA’s deadline’s extension, the Commission decided “to review the SOLR (supplier of last resort) rules to make sure that the applicable SOLR rate would not be burdensome on contestable customers.”

He further affirmed that for the 750kW threshold, next year’s timeframe is already set for June next year.