by Alena Mae S. Flores – June 25, 2017 at 06:01 pm
from Manila Standard Today
The Energy Regulatory Commission will schedule the long-delayed hearings against 12 companies charged with anti-competitive behavior, which increased prices at the wholesale electricity spot market in November and December 2013.
The regulator could not move forward with the hearing until a legal issue was resolved, ERC spokesman Floresinda Digal said.
Digal said with the latest decision of the commission to deny the consolidation of the 11 cases against the 12 companies, the hearings could now proceed.
The ERC’s Investigating Unit earlier sent separate notices of pre-trial conferences asking the 12 companies to submit their respective positions on the charges.
The IU on June 10, 2015 filed 13 complaints against the several companies for violation of Section 45 of Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
The Epira states that “no participant in the electricity industry or any other person may engage in any anti-competitive behavior including, but not limited to, cross-subsidization, price or market manipulation, or other unfair trade practices detrimental to the encouragement and protection of contestable markets.”
The cases were filed against the 12 companies for allegedly withholding capacity at the WESM during the Malampaya natural gas project maintenance shutdown.
The companies are Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (for Malaya and Casecnan plants), Therma Mobile Inc., Manila Electric Co., 1590 Energy, CIP II Power Corp., Trans-Asia Power Generation Corp., AP Renewables Inc., Udenna Management Resources Corp., Strategic Power Development, GN Power Mariveles, Panasia Energy Inc. and SEM-Calaca Power Corp.
The Malampaya shutdown caused the spike in electricity rates in December 2013 and January 2014, prompting non-government groups and other petitioners to ask the Supreme court stop the rate increase.
The SC ruled in favor of the petitioners and stopped the implementation of the P4.15 per kilowatt-hour increase in power rates for the month of December 2013.