ERC welcome’s Meralco’s bid to form new unit

by Alena Mae S. Flores – October 26, 2016 at 11:35 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Regulatory Commission said Wednesday it welcomes the initiative of Manila Electric Co. to register an affiliated company as a retail electricity supplier under the retail competition and open access scheme.

ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said in a statement Meralco’s move “underscores the power firm’s unwavering commitment to its customers and to the transformation of the electricity market in line with the spirit of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.”

ERC said the registration of an affiliate distribution utility was contained under the implementing rules on open access.

According to the rules, no entity may supply power to the so-called contestable market without a retail electricity supplier license issued by ERC.

Existing local distribution utilities such as Meralco may no longer supply electricity to end-users in this market unless this is done in their capacity as “suppliers of last resort” or by creating an affiliate with a duly-issued RES license.

Contestable market consists of customers within a certain level of electricity consumption and which are allowed to select their own power supplier.

ERC mandated that contestable customers with average monthly peak demand of one megawatt source their own suppliers by Dec. 26.

ERC said customers with monthly peak demand of 750 kilowatts would be included in this category by June 16, 2017.

Salazar said ERC was now reviewing the timeline to give existing power distributors enough window to conform to the requirement.

The Supreme Court earlier backed ERC’s open access guidelines and slapped a temporary restraining order on Oct, 10 against an earlier injunction issued by the Pasig regional trial court.

The Pasig RTC order halted the implementation of the RCOA guidelines by ERC.

Salazar said Meralco “once again displayed its tradition as a trailblazer in the country’s power industry when it took the step to back the implementation of this particular feature of RCOA.”

He expressed confidence the power distribution sector would give its full support to the SC resolution backing the open access rules.

ERC approved a total of 23 applications for RES license.

Salazar also said Meralco’s move “hastens the journey of RCOA which is designed to eventually reach the household level.”

“The goal here is to keep expanding the segment of the total market where retail electricity suppliers compete,” Salazar said.

“The one-megawatt market is just our starting point, and we aim to eventually include even the large residential customers in the near-future,” he said.