CitizenWatch: ERC, DOE’s new policy contradicts EPIRA law

Consumer group CitizenWatch lauded the Supreme Court’s decision to stop the implementation of DOE and ERC’s new retail competition open access (RCOA) policy, which run counter to the objective of the EPIRA law.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) or Republic Act 9136 promotes the customer’s right to choose their own retail electricity supplier (RES) and encourages free and fair competition. It provides for the voluntary migration of end-users to the contestable market.

The DOE and ERC’s new policy said all contestable consumers with at least one megawatt of consumption should only choose from 23 RES designated by ERC.

“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will continue to uphold the intent of the EPIRA, to protect the public interest, after all, it is us, ordinary Filipinos that will have no choice but to carry the burden of the increase in prices.” CitizenWatch secretary general Paco Pangalangan said.

The group’s statement follows after AGHAM partylist expressed support for the Supreme Court’s decision to put a TRO on the RCOA.

Read: AGHAM partylist lauds TRO against new RCOA policy

“With a deadline of February 26, 2017, consumers would have had break-out of existing contracts and scramble to find and enter into new contracts just to meet the deadline imposed by the ERC, or lose power all together,” he said.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Ateneo de Manila University, Riverbanks Development Corp., and San Beda College-Alabang were the petitioners of the TRO.

They deemed the policy “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.”

“The ERC’s mandatory policy would have forced consumers into entering contracts with qualified suppliers, even if these contracts were unfavorable or more expensive contracts,” Pangalangan said.