ERC non-committal on approval of Meralco supply deals

By Myrna M. Velasco – February 13, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is still extremely evasive when it comes to giving definitive timeframe on when it can act on the pending power supply agreements (PSAs) of the power projects being advanced by Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

When asked if the PSAs of the country’s biggest utility firm could be acted on the next 60-day return to office of the four Commissioners, ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera hinted that it is still highly unlikely.

“There are processes and we have to make sure that the processes are in place, that the study is done,” she stressed.

That was asserted by the leadership of the Commission even on a media dare that if there had been really nothing wrong about these power supply contracts, it might be about time that they approve such so they can finally stand the test of day.

The ERC chief added that completion of public hearings and evaluation of the motions for intervention of parties opposing the PSA approvals have yet to be carried out also.

ERC Commissioner Alfredo J. Non, who was officer-in-charge of the Commission at the thick of deliberations of at least two of Meralco’s PSAs, similarly indicated that the pendency of the cases may even extend beyond their scheduled retirement in July.

It is worth noting that two of the supply deals – primarily for the 600-megawatt Redondo Peninsula Energy and 1,200MW Atimonan coal-fired power plants, already advanced on public hearings and evaluation processes, but Devanadera said there are other matters being weighed on the filing of case intervenors.

The power utility firm, along with its electricity generation arm Meralco PowerGen, already sounded off repeatedly to the industry regulators the need for immediate approval of their PSAs so their projects could finally move to construction phases.

But the ERC has been treading very carefully on these specific contracts, given the extent of opposition being thrown against them as well as the slew of cases that these PSA approval bids had already ignited.

Non emphasized “all will have to go through a certain process, if it’s not completed before my retirement, then ERC will continue to deliberate on it.”

He stressed “there’s no hidden agenda, personal or otherwise… if it’s not as I said, the other Commissioners or the new Commissioners will deal with it.”