SPPC: Deficiency claim absent in PSALM billing

By Lenie Lectura – March 3, 2020
from Business Mirror

The South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC) on Monday said the monthly billing statements sent by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) neither included nor substantiated the state firm’s deficiency claim amounting to P23.94 billion as of December 2019.

This as PSALM maintained that it transmitted monthly invoices to SPPC and sent a number of demand letters to the power arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

“SPPC stands by its earlier statement that it has not received monthly billing statements from PSALM that indicate an alleged deficiency claim amounting to P23.94 billion,” SPPC said late Monday afternoon.

The company said what it receives from PSALM are monthly billing statements using its legal position on, and computation of, generation payments. These monthly billings, SPPC said, do not contain the so-called deficiency amount of P23.94 billion as claimed by PSALM.

“SPPC only learned of the P23.94 billion alleged deficiency from news articles quoting PSALM,” the company said.

SPPC also maintained that it is not “delinquent” as claimed by PSALM. “To date, the company has already made P314.6 billion in payments, consisting of P73.9 billion in regular, fixed monthly payments and P240.7 billion in generation charges.”

PSALM said last Friday that it sent “many demand letters to SPPC over the past several years.” These demand letters were dated August 9, 2019, September 3, 2018 and May 9, 2018.

SPPC and PSALM have a pending case in court concerning differences in computing generation payments.

While PSALM is basing generation payments on the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) prices, SPPC believes that selling its capacity there would have put the company in violation of provisions of their contract approved by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and designed specifically to protect consumers from volatile and higher electricity prices in the WESM.

Further, the power firm said the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals (CA) have already ruled that the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the pending case between SPPC and PSALM on the computation of generation charges under the Ilijan power contract.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso earlier questioned the RTC’s jurisdiction over the case, saying power-related issues should be handled by the ERC not the lower court.

The Mandaluyong-RTC’s order of September 24, 2018, where it ruled that the lower court has jurisdiction over the case, was questioned by PSALM through a petition for certiorari that was filed with the CA. On August 23, 2019, the CA dismissed PSALM’s petition.

PSALM has filed a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of its petition.

On September 28, 2015, the Mandaluyong RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction prohibiting PSALM from terminating the IPPA Agreement while the case is pending.

PSALM questioned the injunction with the CA through a petition for certiorari only to be denied by the CA. PSALM appealed the CA decision to the Supreme Court.

Through a Resolution issued on March 4, 2019, the High Court denied the appeal because PSALM failed to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in its decision. The SC’s Resolution became final and executory on August 5, 2019.