The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) reiterated its collective decision to extend the effectivity of the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) as an attempt to address concerns by power industry participants who have accomplished but failed to submit their power supply agreements (PSAs) to the regulatory board.
During a public hearing at the House Joint Committees on Good Government and Public Accountability last July 4, ERC OIC and Commissioner Alfredo Non clarified the intention of the CSP and its much-awaited enactment in light of its alleged partiality to Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) power supply agreements of its seven coal-fired power plants.
“The ERC developed and promulgated the CSP as an additional safety net to promote consumer interest, though it is not a mandatory requirement under the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Power Reform Act),” ERC OIC and Commissioner Alfredo Non said, adding that the imposition of the CSP does not mean the ERC is abandoning the supposed evaluation process nor is it related to the approval of PSAs.
Non also said that the regulatory board was forced to move the effectivity date of the CSP via a Resolution in March 2017 to make leeway for a transition period so as not to defy any legal complexities between the parties as a result of its implementation.
The delay of the CSP, which the ERC enacted in November 2015 until April 2016, led to the upset of many distribution utilities (DUs) and generation companies, raising issues on the legal implications of the CSP to existing PSAs, whether due for renewal, submitted for approval or otherwise already executed.
Earlier, the House of Representatives called for a probe under House Resolution No. 566, filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, to investigate on the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the government’s competitive selection process, which to have seemed to have benefited Meralco and its affiliates.
Zarate said the ERC was supposed to implement the CSP scheme as early as November 2015, as mandated by a Department of Energy circular imposing a competitive bidding for power supply, as opposed to negotiated contracts.
Non and his fellow ERC commissioners are currently charged with criminal and administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The ERC also vowed to resolve the PSA contracts filed by Meralco within three months and will ensure that the cross-ownership limitations ruled by the EPIRA shall not be breached.