ERC sees 671 groups switching to retail electricity suppliers

by Alena Mae S. Flores – January 17, 2016 at 11:05 pm

from Manila Standard

The Energy Regulatory Commission said it expects 671 customers in Luzon and the Visayas with a power demand of at least one megawatt to switch to retail electricity suppliers under the retail competition and open access regime by June.

ERC director for market operations services Debora Laguyan said these customers included 542 power users in Luzon with a combined demand of 1,543.82 MW and 129 customers in the Visayas with total demand of 380.99 MW.

These customers are still being served by distribution utilities.

“We expect these customers to shift to the retail electricity suppliers,” Laguyan said.

She said under the open access regime, the contestable customers would be allowed to switch suppliers on a monthly basis.

Manila Electric Co.’s retail electricity supplier MPower captured 18 percent of the demand of all contestable customers to date, followed by Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. with 9 percent; Aboitiz Energy Solutions, 4 percent; AdventEnergy Inc., 3 percent; DirectPower Services Inc., 3 percent; Team (Philippines) Energy Corp., 3 percent; Ecozone Power Management Inc., 2 percent; and others, 4 percent.

Around 54 percent of contestable customers or those with a monthly demand of 1 MW have yet to switch to retail electricity suppliers.

ERC targets the remaining contestable customers to switch by June, which would also mark the start of the voluntary implementation of the 750-kilowatt threshold for open access.

The regulator set the mandatory compliance to the 750-kW threshold to Dec. 26, 2016 and the 500-kW threshold to June 26, 2018.

Laguyan said the timeline was a moving target.

Retail competition and open access allow large power users to choose their own power suppliers with the aim of bringing in competition in order to bring down power costs.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 mandates that the threshold for open access can be lowered to 750 kW from 1 MW two years upon implementation. Open access was implemented in December 2013.