by Myrna Velasco, 05 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin
Competitive retail sourcing has finally stepped into the doorsteps of the big-ticket customers of power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) – that was on the advent of the retail competition and open access (RCOA) even if it was just initially introduced voluntarily two years ago.
Meralco documents indicate that “of the 347 qualified and registered contestable customers, 207 or nearly 60% in terms of number of accounts have opted to be served by its RES (retail electricity supplier) unit.”
The utility firm has set up MPower as its RES entity – or the one that will serve the requirements of its customers opting to shift their power supply sources.
The RCOA paved the way for customers within the 1.0-megawatt peak demand bracket to finally contract their required power supply at a duration and price that will match their preference and budget.
Under the rules and enabling laws, the servicing distribution utilities can put up their own local RES to serve that segment of their subscribing end-users.
Meralco previously noted that its contestable customers – or those already qualified to contract for their own supply – account for 30 percent of its total customer base.
The utility firm has noted that its MPower unit comprises with a group of “highly competent engineers and commercial executives with broad experience in the power industry.”
Their core competence hovered on “load profiling and forecasting, energy operations and management, and its customer-centric product and price offerings.”
Meralco has added its RES venture “created significant value for its customers through its service offerings and reliable supply portfolio.”
The real competition in the retail electricity market is still set to begin though when RCOA would finally be introduced as a ‘mandatory policy’ in the fully-restructured power sector.
Meralco averred that even some of their customers have opted to remain “captive” or have stayed with their franchised DUs because they have yet to see how the mandatory open access will shape.
The Department of Energy has set a year-end timeline for this and at a lower threshold of 750 kilowatts (kW), but it still needs to reconcile its implementation assessment with that of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which has a different viewpoint as to the stability of power supply in the country.