ERC under scrutiny over MERALCO’s 1,800 MW bidding


The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is currently under scrutiny as it deliberates on Manila Electric Company’s (MERALCO) bid for 1,800 megawatts (MW) of power supply, a move contested by lawmakers who demand a closer examination.

Inquirer reported that several members of the House of Representatives urged the commission to cease the consideration of the competitive selection process (CSP) for the power supply agreement (PSA) involving 1,800 MW of electricity.

Earlier, MERALCO sought the CSP to acquire 1,800MW of power supply, responding to the increasing demand from its customers starting next year. The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a certificate of conformity for a 15-year contract, involving MERALCO’s 1800-MW baseload requirement from December 2024.

Despite six potential bidders expressing interest in providing a portion of the required capacity, some lawmakers, including Santa Rosa Representative Dan Fernandez, urged the ERC to pause the CSP. They argue that MERALCO’s terms for the bidding process are questionable, specifically citing a requirement that only power plants in operation since January 22, 2020, are eligible to bid.

Fernandez and other lawmakers accused the distribution utility (DU) firm of limiting potential bidders through tailor-fitted conditions, hindering fair competition, and violating anti-competitive practices.

With this, the lawmakers asked the ERC to pause the bidding until a comprehensive review of its terms of reference (TOR) is completed. 

ERC Chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta has already acknowledged the concerns regarding the limited number of potential participants in the CSP. She revealed that the ERC had already warned MERALCO about its observations on the bid invitation.

Meanwhile, MERALCO vehemently denied the allegations of overcharging and anti-competitive behavior. The DU firm stressed its respect for the regulatory rules and the ERC’s prior approval for rate implementation. 

MERALCO also asserted that the accusations are unfounded as they have been compliant with government regulations and have refunded over PHP 48 billion in distribution charges in 2023, as directed by the ERC.