by Myrna M. Velasco
01 December 2016 from Manila Bulletin
Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has formally applied for a license as retail electricity supplier (RES) so it can serve big-ticket contestable customers under the retail competition and open access (RCOA) regime of the restructured electricity sector.
Its RES license application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will be under Vantage Energy Solutions and Management, Inc. (Vantage Energy) that will enable it to serve qualified customers even beyond its franchise area.
Contestable customers are those end-users that can already exercise ‘power of choice’ in their procurement or direct contracting of energy supply.
The threshold under mandatory contestability will start at 1.0-megawatt as targeted February next year; and this shall be brought down to 750 kilowatts by June, 2017.
“As a distribution utility affiliate RES, Vantage Energy intends to provide retail energy services which will include wholesale contracting, energy trading and sourcing, marketing, selling and aggregate electricity, billing, collection and the provision of other value-added services to contestable customers,” the utility firm has noted in its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Under the voluntary phase of the RCOA regime, Meralco had to lean on its local RES under MPower to serve the needs of contestable customers – basically the industrial and large commercial end-users.
Within the era of full contestability in the power market, it is anticipated that competition will intensify – but with Vantage Energy, this Meralco affiliate can also broaden its customer base – even on a nationwide basis.
The company has relentlessly sounded off its intent to cater to the needs of end-users beyond its service area in Luzon; and Vantage Energy could just be its rightful newly created arm to fulfill that target.