ERC grants Millennium Energy’s bid for interim relief on Meralco charges

by Myrna Velasco – May 25, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has granted the plea of Millennium Energy, Inc. (MEI) for an interim relief on the distribution wheeling charges imposition of Manila Electric Company.

ERC chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar told reporters “the Commission decided that Meralco shall not impose a guaranteed minimum billing demand (GMBD) on MEI on the interim, but shall only bill based on the actual use or dispatch of the MEI plant,” subject to the ERC-approved distribution wheeling charges.

This is in line with the Commission’s verdict also ordering Meralco not to disconnect MEI’s Navotas from its system. The plant is of 310 megawatts capacity, but 100MW had been set for wheeling to Meralco’s load network.

Salazar said that they “acted on MEI’s application for relief by directing Meralco not to disconnect MEI from its distribution system.”

In this vein, he added that the Navotas plant of MEI shall also be allowed “to export its energy using Meralco’s distribution system pending resolution of the dispute resolution case filed by MEI.”

Salazar said their decision “is aimed at ensuring reliability and adequacy of supply in the Luzon grid.”

As of press time, Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga indicated that they have yet to receive a copy of the ERC ruling. “We will study it once we have received the said Order,” he said.

The dispute resolution lodged by MEI before the regulatory body primarily seeks a write-off of its P34.5-million outstanding dues with Meralco on billed distribution charges relating to their Distribution Wheeling Services Agreement (DWSA) that already lapsed.

Millennium Energy in particular has prayed that it should not be liable “for the unpaid billings amounting to P34,501,920.04.” This has yet to be decided upon by the ERC.

“Due to MEI’s very tight and precarious financial condition, it can no longer continue paying the distribution wheeling charges for the month of November 2015 which was due on 11 December 2015,” the company stipulated.