ERC to extend deadline on supply talks

by Myrna Velasco – October 21, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

ith some delays in implementation due to legal hurdles, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) indicated that it is keen on extending the deadline for contestable customers to negotiate supply deals with retail electricity suppliers (RES).

“We believe that an extension would afford concerned parties sufficient time to negotiate new supply contracts with retailers,” ERC Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar noted.

ERC was confident that mandatory retail competition and open access (RCOA) at lowered threshold of 750 kilowatts will finally make its way into true-to-form implementation as initially targeted for next year.

This was following the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court effectively reversing for the meantime the injunction earlier rendered by a Pasig Regional Trial Court on a case filed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) stopping the mandatory phase of the industry’s retail competition.

Salazar reckoned “the issuance of the TRO by the Supreme Court clears the way for the full implementation by the ERC of its recently-promulgated rules on RCOA, particularly those that pertain to mandatory contestability by December, 2016.”

Nevertheless, he qualified that some deadlines earlier prescribed in the Rules may already turn very critical for affected stakeholders to comply with, hence, they are pushing for review of the timeframes. It will be calendared as an agenda of the Commission.

“Let me assure the concerned parties that we will review the said timeline and determine a more appropriate date for mandatory contestability,” the ERC Chair stressed.

He noted they are just counting now on solid support from the industry so they could finally propel consumers “to be the king of their own power sourcing” – a long-delayed promise of reform enshrined under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.