by Myrna Velasco, 20 August 2015
from Manila Bulletin
Before moving to trial proper in establishing the alleged “must-offer” violations of the power generation companies during the controversial November-December 2013 industry events, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has indicated that it will flesh out first the “missing middle concerns” in the case, primarily the Water Protocol for the hydropower plants.
In a briefing with reporters, ERC Commissioner Josefina Patricia M. Asirit has divulged that there is a plea from one party for a round tablediscussion to fully explain the dynamics of the Water Protocol which generally affects the operation and power capacity offers of hydropower plants.
“There’s a request to have roundtable to discuss the Water Protocol…for NWRB to be part of it. On the whole, the hydro plants are raising that it is becoming a challenge for them dealing with the seasonality as well as the orders of the NWRB that they can actually change prioritization from time to time,” she stressed. Asirit added that the hydropower facilities’ commitment for ancillary services to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) shall also be factored in.
The independently-formed Investigation Unit (IU) at the ERC had announced its findings last June that several companies allegedly committed breaches of the must-offer rule of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, hence, causing extreme supply tightness which had driven up the power rates. In essence, some sectors branded it as “collusive act” of the GenCos.
ERC Commissioner Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc has qualified that the regulatory body will have prior “pre-hearing conference” on the complaint filed by the IU before moving on to pre-trial process. The fresh round of probe o the case is targeted this August 30.
Yap-Taruc emphasized that the points being considered are “whether or not we will be hearing the case in a consolidated fashion because they stemmed from the same set of facts…or it might be easier to hear the cases individually.”