The Department of Energy is looking to make the retail competition and open access (RCOA) scheme optional for those with at least one megawatt (MW) in monthly demand to migrate to the open market scheme.
The DOE is reviewing the mandatory provision under the RCOA rules to accommodate the adjustment in requiring large power end-users, Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.
“The DOE secretary is open in making it not mandatory, or optional, to strengthen more the choice for the customers. That’s part of coordination with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC),” Fuentebella said.
End-users are given until February 26, 2017 to obtain their retail electricity suppliers (RES) under the RCOA rules.
Fuentebella said the deferred schedule will be still be followed and the DOE will need to hasten the RCOA policy review whether to make it mandatory or optional.
“The February schedule will push through but whether [we will make it] mandatory or not, that what we have to look at,” he said.
Alfredo Panlilio of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said that the DOE’s decision to review RCOA’s mandatory provision is a welcome development for end – users, especially those that are having difficulty in securing RSCs.
“I think that’s a welcome development not because of Meralco but because of customers. We’ve been having forums for customers to explain what needs to happen and how we’ll process their application and all of that… but we could sense there was a lot discomfort for the customers especially with the low load factor companies,” he said.
He added that allowing large power consumers to choose where to source their power supply will be beneficial to stakeholders – which is the aim of the RCOA.
“You leave it to the customer to make a choice and give them an opportunity to get ready and when they get the right contracts and at the end of the day, it’s really about customer choice and we’ve been saying that as Meralco because we hear them,” Panlilio said.