ERC asked to re-validate ‘first dispatch schedule’ of solar plants

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

from Manila Bulletin

The registered “first dispatch schedule” of solar plants in the second wave race on feed-in-tariff (FIT) sets the “decisive point” on which projects will deserve the incentive, thus, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is asking the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to re-validate data from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) relating to the plea of the project developers.

In an interview with reporters, Cusi noted that the matter “is being looked at by ERC already.”

In a letter to the DOE, the Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA) stipulated that if the rules on the second solar race would have stayed true to the intent and provisions of DOE Department Circular Number DC-2013-05-0009, the “first dispatch” undertaken by participant-solar farms could have been the major basis for them to qualify in the FIT incentive.

PSPA noted the “meters cannot lie.” Nevertheless, they were all just shocked to discover later on that the “goal posts” of the solar FIT2 race allegedly moved to serve the interest of some parties.

On this lingering scuffle, Cusi qualified that certificates of endorsement (COEs) for the solar FIT of R8.69 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) were already submitted to the ERC before he took over at the Department of Energy’s helm, “so it will be improper for me to recall that… it’s already there, so ERC has to take action on that.”

He added that based on the regulatory body’s findings then, “they (relevant ERC officials) have to take action, then whatever that outcome is, if they need to revert the endorsements to us or would be needing anything from us, that is the time that we will move accordingly.”

Cusi indicated though that based on the initial results of the DOE’s fact-finding committee, there have been data “different from what had been endorsed, but we cannot be the jury for that.”

The energy chief stated they received several complaints from project sponsors and developers that have been disqualified in the solar FIT2 race,  “so we want to validate all of those information, that’s why we have that fact-finding committee of the DOE to once and for all, clarify this – if the allegations are true.”

PSPA President Tetchi Cruz-Capellan previously told media that while they concur with the energy secretary’s pronouncement that everybody knew the rules when they joined the race, their plea is for the DOE “to really go back to the letters of their Circular and see its corresponding provisions as to how projects shall be validated for COE as FIT qualifiers.”

According to Pete Ilagan, chairman of the DOE-delegated Fact Finding Committee, they already gathered relevant data from NGCP and PEMC to tangibly manifest the “first dispatch schedule” of the projects that joined the FIT contest.

The department’s next step, he said, will be to inform the two solar associations to submit anew their position relating the “solar FIT 2” issues, including that critical concern of ‘first dispatch” so the DOE could have solid basis on any recommended measures relating to the project race.

The PSPA, in particular, raised to the DOE “to compare the data submitted by petitioners across all participating companies in order to validate the assessment made by the previous administration and determine the validity of the petitioner’s claim.”

Capellan said “in our mind, this is the crux of the controversy as the department excluded some companies by applying parameters outside the ambit of the Circular.”