Court decision necessary to resolve Meralco PSA issue – ERC

Pending PSAs discussed in ERC-Consumer groups dialogue

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has yet to decide on the controversial power supply agreements (PSAs) of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco)

ERC Chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera said they are not acting on the Meralco PSA applications in anticipation of the decision of Congress and Supreme Court.

“We are not acting on the seven PSAs because there’s a case…there’s no TRO (temporary restraining order),” she said. “But out of deference, both Congress and to the Supreme Court, we have not acted on them.”

The commission cannot resolve applications until then, Devanadera said.

Consumer group Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas Inc. (ABP) asked the Supreme Court in November 2016 to stop the ERC from approving a 20-year PSA between Meralco and several general companies involving 3,551 megawatts (MW).

The competitive selection process policy (CSP) was supposed to start on Nov. 7, 2015 but implementation was moved to April 30, 2016 to allow a transition period for power companies.

Meralco then filed seven PSAs with the ERC covering 3,551 MW of supply from generation plants that are mostly owned or partly owned by Meralco through its power generating unit Meralco PowerGen Corp.

In order to investigate the controversial PSAs, a series of Congressional hearings were also conducted on both houses.

Regardless of the Congress’s and court’s decision, the ERC also lacks quorum to decide on the PSAs.

“Right now, the practical reason is I am the only one in the commission,” Devanadera said.

The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the three-month suspension of the four ERC commissioners last May for failing to act on the misuse of the bill deposits by distribution utilities (DUs).

Malacañang directed the ERC to implement the suspension of the ERC commissioners last month.

Non and Yap-Taruc have retired from government service yesterday after completing their seven-year term early last month while Asirit and Sta. Ana will end their term on July 10, 2020 and March 2022, respectively.