Ombudsman TRO stymies ERC job, says Devanadera

By Alena Mae S. Flores – August 03, 2018 at 08:25 pm

Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson Agnes Devanadera said the agency cannot act on the pending power supply agreements of Manila Electric Co. due to the legal cases filed against the commissioners.

“We are not acting on the seven PSAs (of Meralco) because there’s a case although you can always say… there’s no TRO,” Devanadera said.

“But out of deference, both Congress and to the Supreme Court, we have not acted on them,” she said.

ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera

The Office of the Ombudsman suspended four commissioners of the ERC for allegedly giving Meralco an undue advantage when it extended the submission of the company’s PSA applications.

The Ombudsman, acting on the complaint of several groups, imposed a one-year suspension on all four commissioners of the ERC―Josefina Patricia Asirit, Alfredo Non,Geronimo Sta. Ana and Gloria Yap-Taruc—in December.

The commissioners appealed the case to the Court of Appeals and obtained a temporary restraining order against the suspension. A new suspension on a different case, however, was imposed by the Ombudsman.

Two out of the four commissioners, namely Non and Yap-Taruc, have since retired, but Malacanang has not announced a replacement yet.

“We have not acted on any because of… we’re anticipating the action of Congress and we’re also anticipating the action of the Supreme Court. If there is none yet,  we cannot resolve. Right now, the practical reason is I am the only one in the commission,” Devadandera said.

Meralco president Oscar Reyes reiterated that the company’s supply agreements with the seven generators totaling over 3,000 megawatts underwent due process.

“I think to us the important thing is providing the necessary assurance for energy security and supply as well as low or competitive prices. I believe that we had fully complied with the ERC circular on redefining the effectivity of the CSP,” he said.

Reyes said there were 90 power supply agreements that were filed prior to the CSP.

“Many of those power supply agreements have in fact been approved and many of them have been implemented. I think the question is why are we being sort of treated differently,” he said.

Reyes said two projects with PSAs with Meralco, namely the 1,200-MW Atimonan coal plant in Quezon and the 600-MW RP Energy coal plant in Subic, were ready for construction.

“Our only appeal is to allow us to get benefits of full compliance. Two of our projects, Atimonan and Redondo Peninsula, have fully complied with all the processes… undergone all the processes, undergone all the public hearings. They’re listed as committed projects of the DoE. Both are registered with the BoI (Board of Investments). One is a pioneer Atimonan and the other non-pioneer enterprise,” he said.