The Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) is pushing for the resolution of the temporary restraining order (TRO) passed by Supreme Court against the implementation of the retail competition and open access (RCOA).
“The recent TRO issued by the Supreme Court has the effect of putting on hold aspects of the RCOA, specifically the timeline for lowering of thresholds,” PIPPA said in a statement.
“We support the move from DOE and ERC for a unified policy on RCOA. We hope that this will finally settle the issues and the industry will already move forward to attain the objectives of EPIRA,” they added.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 mandates the RCOA, which allows electricity end-users with at least one megawatt of peak demand to choose their suppliers.
Under the new policies and regulations by the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), end-users are required to choose between 23 retail electricity suppliers (RES) designated by ERC on February 26, 2017.
The Supreme Court released a TRO on a petition filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Riverbanks Development Corp., Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and San Beda College Alabang.
“The Court noted that petitioners have established a clear, legal right to the TRO considering that the EPIRA Law provides for the voluntary migration of end-users to the contestable market and there appears to be no basis for the mandatory migration being ordered by the DoE and the ERC through the questioned issuances,” the Supreme Court said.
The petitioners said the new resolutions are “unconstitutional for usurping legislative authority, violating the right to due process and equal protection and the non-impairment clause as well as for being unreasonable exercise of police power.”
Customers must be given a choice to continue their contracts with their distribution utility suppliers, the petitioners added. Mandatory contestability will remove their freedom to do so.
The DOE, ERC and the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) said they will form a new policy that will make it easier to shift to an open market scheme.