ERC asks Supreme Court to lift TRO on RCOA shift

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is urging the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the mandatory shift to the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) regime after putting large power consumers on hold in its migration to the new scheme since February.

Commissioner Gloria Yap-Taruc and OIC Alfredo Non spoke before the Senate on the deliberation of the ERC’s budget yesterday.

“They’re the ones who issued the TRO. It’s impacting on the industry and our hands are tied. We have to seek guidance from them on how to move forward,” Non said.

As per the energy regulator’s plea to the Court, ERC seeks clarification if it can lower the threshold to 750-kWh on a voluntary basis and if it can issue retail electricity supplier (RES) licenses since the power agency is pounded with numerous pending applications and cannot proceed with the approval of those filings.

In February, the SC issued a TRO on the mandatory migration to the RCOA effective in the same period until end-June of this year, for both users with at least 1-MW usage and 750-kWh demand respectively.

Following groups and companies from various sectors sought the TRO issuance on the power agency including Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, San Beda College Alabang Inc., Ateneo de Manila University and Riverbanks Development Corp., which said the new rules supposedly limits the accredited suppliers for big power consumers which must be given a choice whether to stay with their current distribution utility suppliers.

The RCOA provision is yet to be implemented since EPIRA’s reenactment in 2001.

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