ERC to allow retail customers to change power suppliers

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The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has allowed contestable customers supplied by Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES) to switch to other suppliers even with unresolved disputes with previous providers. 

The move follows amendments to Resolution No. 9 series of 2018 or the “Rules Supplementing the Switching and Billing Process and Adopting a Disconnection for Contestable Consumers.” 

“The review of the rules was triggered by ERC’s receipt of numerous complaints from contestable or large consumers against alleged rate adjustments implemented by their RES. Contestable consumers claim that the rate adjustments are imposed with threats of disconnections in case of non-payment even as disputes are pending for resolution with the ERC or regular courts.” the ERC said in a statement on Thursday. 

Under the amendment, a contestable customer will be allowed to switch to a new RES or supplier of last resort (SOLR), notwithstanding an outstanding balance. 

However, the customer will remain responsible for fulfilling its lawful obligations with its incumbent RES. They would also need to settle their accounts with the assigned distribution utility (DU) prior to the initial transfer. 

“Such consumers doing the initial switch to RES from their DUs shall be entitled to the refund of security or bill deposits,” ERC said. 

Earlier, over 11,000 residents of the California Garden Square (CGS) condominium in Mandaluyong raised concerns to the ERC on a power disconnection threat by its RES, MPower – a Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO) subsidiary, amid unresolved disputes on fuel cost recovery adjustment (FCRA) that adjusted the rates being demanded by the supplier. 

Under the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) program, consumers that meet a 500-kilowatt consumption are allowed to choose their own electricity suppliers.