Power firms get one-year reprieve

Alena Mae S. Flores – June 30, 2017 at 09:07 pm 

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Regulatory Commission has given power generation and distribution firms until June next year to offer and sell a portion of not less than 15 percent of their common shares of stocks to the public.

The ERC in an order extended the deadline for one year pending the resolution of a request to include registration in the Securities and Exchange Commission as among the modes of offering approved by the regulator.

The Private Electric Power Operators Association sought clarification on the registration of common shares with the SEC that was inadvertently omitted as a mode of public offering.

The ERC earlier issued a directive providing a period of five years for generation companies and distribution utilities to offer and sell to the public a portion of not less than 15 percent of their common shares of stock.

The five-year period ended on June 29, 2016 but the ERC extended it to June 29, 2017 and then again to June 29, 2018.

The ERC said it was supposed to conduct consultations on the issue but this was delayed due to the Marawi armed conflict, which forced the government to declare martial law in Mindanao.

“The commission, in order to complete the required public consultations, on the instant petition and due to the fortuitous event mentioned, has resolved, to extend for one year the compliance period provided in the said resolution pending final resolution on the petition,” it said.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 directed the ERC to perform its functions to ensure the successful restructuring of the power industry, including  drawing up the rules and guidelines on the listing of the shares of the generation firms and distribution utilities.

The ERC said generation and distribution firms or their respective holding companies already listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange were considered to have complied.

The ERC in May 2066 issued another resolution suspending the implementation of the listing requirement pending the conduct and termination of public hearings.

At that time, the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association asked the ERC to defer the implementation  of the public offering rules as the “provision should be made under an environment that is conducive to the  success of any public offering, and after relevant issues with regard to the public offering are resolved.”

“PIPPA, on behalf of all its members, respectfully requests the ERC  to defer the compliance date of the requirement to such time when the conditions surrounding the undertaking of public offering would indicate greater opportunity for success,” it said.

The group said the ERC resolution failed to set rules and guidelines to be followed by generation companies which are in the form of partnerships or joint ventures.

“Not all generation companies are in the form of stock corporations. Hence, there would be difficulty for these generation companies to comply with the public offering as they do not have common shares of  stock,” it said.