ERC readies expanded retail electricity competition

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is set to implement the retail competition and open access (RCOA) scheme for small and medium enterprises, as well as groups of households within the first quarter of 2021.

Under the RCOA, customers would be able to choose their own electricity supplier other than the incumbent distributor in their area of residence or business. For example, Metro Manila residential and business consumers will be allowed to choose a power supplier other than the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO).

The ERC will be drafting a resolution for a proposed timeline leading to the start of RCOA’s implementation for customers consuming less than 750 kilowatts (kW).

The RCOA is currently being mandated for consumers who have power demand of at least one megawatt (MW) and is voluntary for those consuming at least 750 kW, but less than 1 MW.

Based on the ERC’s draft resolution, the RCOA would be implemented for consumers needing at least 500 kW but less than 750 kW starting February 26, 2021. Likewise, the scheme is proposed to take effect for consumers needing at least 100 kW but less than 500 kW on January 26, 2022. The proposed resolution also sets the RCOA to begin for consumers who need at least 10 kW but less than 100 kW on January 26, 2023.

“The benefits of the RCOA scheme will soon come to fruition despite the temporary setback that came up against its implementation,” said ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera in a statement.

The requirement for customers with a demand of at least 750 kW but less than 1 MW to exercise the RCOA scheme is being challenged at the Supreme Court.

“The envisioned competition in the retail level of the supply sector will soon be a reality and the consuming public will be the beneficiaries of the RCOA as they can opt to choose the electricity provider that offers the most competitive price,” she added.