Bayan Muna party-list has filed a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the execution of the Department of Energy (DOE) circular on conducting the competitive selection process (CSP).
The said circular will allow power distribution firms to choose their own third party that will supervise the CSP on all power supply agreements (PSAs).
Circular 2018-02-003 amended selected provisions of Circular 2015-06-0008 which allows the entry of third party recognized by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and National Electrification Administration (NEA).
“The fact that the DUs appoint all the members of the third party bids and awards committee (TPBAC) no longer makes the bids and awards committee the ‘third party’ despite the token name. Section 5 of DC 2018-02-0003, therefore, expressly brings back the control of the bidding process to the DUs by repealing the mandatory requirement of a third party,” the petition stated.
Bayan Muna’s petition also noted that the circular violates policies and provisions on consumers’ protection under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 and the Constitution.
The group added that the role of ERC and DOE or NEA is to ensure that there is transparency, sense of check and balance which would benefit the consumers.
“Whether or not the DUs will manipulate the bidding is of no moment. The fact is, the assailed department circular has expressly reversed provisions favoring the consumers and given the DUs the opportunity to manipulate and the option to control the bidding process which is detrimental to the consumers and violative of relevant laws,” they added.
The party-list calls for the release of a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Earlier, the ERC had finally decided to have all power distribution utilities to conduct CSP on all PSAs submitted on or after June 30, 2015 “to prevent monopolies that result in exorbitant electricity rates.”
“Upon compliance with the CSP, the power purchase cost resulting from such compliance shall retroact to the date of effectivity of the complying PSA, but in no case earlier than 30 June 2015, for purposes of passing on the power purchase cost to consumers,” SC ruling stated.