Internet-based electricity purchase mulled

by Myrna Velasco – February 20, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Enabling Filipino consumers to purchase their electricity service needs via the Internet is a platform that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is seriously considering under the mandatory retail competition and open access (RCOA) which is anticipated to finally advance this year.

In a briefing with reporters, ERC Commissioner Alfredo J. Non noted that power seller and customer interface via a website is among the fortifications they have been introducing in the retail competition rules.

“There is a requirement to have a website where consumers can refer to, that was not in the initial draft (of the RCOA Rules)…we really should have an open market situation,” he said.

When asked further If internet purchase of electricity will be a trend that will be stimulated by retail electricity suppliers (RES) similar to what is happening in power markets in other parts of the world, the ERC official said “yes, depending on the system that will be followed by the suppliers.”

He hinted that the final draft of the retail competition rules will likely be out middle of this year, to be underpinned by two or three more resolutions that shall further address concerns on the licensing of retail electricity suppliers (RES) and contestability of customers.

“We’re now at the stage of preparing the final draft that affects amendments on the licensing for retail electricity suppliers, the one that affects the contestability of customers and other areas in relation to the retail competition,” Non said.

He added “there will be three or two resolutions that will be issued basically after the rules. We’re just fine-tuning them, they should be ready after a month probably.”

If the June schedule on mandatory retail competition will skid, he noted that a transition phase would still be set off fundamentally to prepare the market players.

“We will try to work on it (June, 2016 target)…but if it won’t, then we have to work on some transition…there could be a delay of 2-3 months,” Non stressed.

He added that the initial 1.0-megawatt threshold will still be followed to be brought down subsequently to 750 kilowatts.

“The 1.0MW and above will still be first, but in order to increase the base of contestable customers to ensure there would be more market to sell to, we will already lower the threshold to 750MW and above. And if that will be a mandatory contestability this year, that means that there will be no option for the contestable customers but to select a RES,” he said.

He further explained that “in order to increase the probability of contestable contracting, we are not just considering a choice with the existing generators, we are considering also the choice by the contestable customers from prospective generators – those that don’t have yet a plant but who are willing to supply within a certain period under certain conditions.”