MADAYA BA? Solon calls out Meralco for “self-dealing”

Energy Department, PEZA ink deal on ecozone investment

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) officials should review the results of the House probe on the seven power supply agreements it sealed with its own subsidiaries.

This was what Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate said after discovering that Meralco awarded to its own affiliated generation companies the PSAs containing P900 billion in overpriced power rates, without conducting any bidding.

The solon also called out Meralco after the company claimed there was no Philippine law or policy that prevents affiliated gencos from participating in the bidding for supply needs of distribution utilities.

“The House investigation caught Meralco with its hands in the cookie jar, yet Meralco is feigning innocence about it,” Zarate told Manila Bulletin reporters during a press conference.

“The Ombudsman also suspended top Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) officials for allowing Meralco to award the same PSAs to the Meralco gencos without conducting a bidding under competitive selection process (CSP). Yet Meralco claims that such anti-competitive behavior is not prohibited,” he added.

Bayan Muna said that the awarded PSAs were questionable as the favored gencos were given a 3,551 MW deal, which is close to securing the electricity requirements of both Visayas and Mindanao.

“The Ombudsman even found probable cause to charge the same ERC officials for violating the anti-graft law after they extended ‘unwarranted benefits to [Meralco] and other companies by exempting them from the coverage of the CSP requirement,’” Zarate said.

“Meralco tried to award the PSAs without bidding under rules of the CSP, which should have required the company to get at least two offers before awarding a PSA,” he added.

Zarate explained that they are not singling out Meralco but they are reminding all power distributors on lawful processes. 

Meralco’s seven PSAs will last for around 20 to 21 years.