By Myrna M. Velasco – December 29, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
Customers in the competitive retail power market will no longer need to wait for a month before their papers on switching to other electricity suppliers could be processed.
In the new rules set forth by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), the central registration body (CRB) for the retail market and operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), supplier switching of customers can already be done easily in just a stretch of three days.
IEMOP said it “will be able to considerably reduce the processing time for customer switching from 30 calendar days to three working days.”
Retail power customers or the so-called contestable end-users are those segments that can already freely choose and contract with their preferred retail suppliers. This is currently voluntary at thresholds of 750 kilowatts and 1.0 megawatts or higher level.
IEMOP expounded “to fast-track the switching process, the proposed rules change seeks to require distribution utilities to submit the said customer information every 15th day of the month to the IEMOP for immediate inclusion in its retail market entry.”
Further, IEMOP is also relaxing the rules on registration of contestable customers – that it is now just making it voluntary instead of enforcing mandatory registration.
As asserted by IEMOP President and CEO Francis Saturnino Juan, the rules may already be shifted into “voluntary registration” as the threshold goes down – especially when it already reaches household level.
He indicated that registration could be a tricky process and will be self-defeating to customers wanting to contract and choose their own electricity suppliers if the rigorous process of listing will still be there when competition reaches household level.
“IEMOP recommended the voluntary registration of contestable customers as trading participants in the WESM in lieu of their mandatory WESM registration,” the company said.
Such changes in the rules, the WESM operator emphasized, “would relieve contestable customers that have designated direct WESM counterparty retail suppliers from complying with all membership requirements and from direct WESM exposure.”
And for the CRB function of WESM, the market operator specified that will be re-directing its processes on gathering information on all eligible contestable customers.”
Such may cover current suppliers, metering information, customer information from distribution utilities.