ERC eyes options on retail row

by Alena Mae S. Flores – February 22, 2017 at 08:05 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Regulatory Commission and the Energy Department are exploring legal options in the wake of the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order against mandatory retail competition and open access which was supposed to start Feb. 26.

“We will continue to explore all legal options available to us. We hold firmly to our position that the reforms are good for the country,” ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said.

A mandatory open access requires power users with an average monthly demand of one megawatt and above to choose their own power supplier. Open access is mandated under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

“We keep our hope that the high court would also see the wisdom and merit of our position in these reforms,” Salazar.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the TRO would push back the implementation of open access.

The case stemmed from the petition filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, San Beda College Alabang Inc., Ateneo de Manila University and Riverbank Development Corp.

The ERC and the Energy Department agreed late last year to implement the mandatory retail competition and open access to power users with a demand of one megawatt on Feb. 26.

Retail competition and open access, as envisioned by the Epira, is seen to bring down power costs to give customers the power to choose their suppliers.

The government also said the mandatory contestability for customers with 750 kilowatt to 999 kilowatt average peak demand would take effect on June 26, 2017.