Meralco-SPPC insults ERC and consumers
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) must immediately junk the joint petition of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC) seeking approval for provisional authority and/or interim relief to increase the electricity rate, so they could recover costs due to increase in the prices of fuel.
Their petition is an insult to the authority of the regulatory body, the much-celebrated competitive selection process (CSP) regime, and the consumers who have to carry the burden of rising electricity prices and poor electric services.
When the companies were preparing their bids for the competitive selection process, they already considered all factors that they thought would influence both the result of the process and their maximum profitability. This includes fuel cost fluctuation.
By signing the 10 years, power supply agreement—a legally binding contract—they committed themselves to its contents. Therefore, they should respect the CSP and continue to deliver energy at the agreed price.
Changing the contract terms midway into the game bastardizes the whole competition regime the ERC and this government have been pushing for. We might as well go back to the old regime where generators and distributors negotiate in the dark only to surprise consumers with agreed rates and terms.
Allowing SPPC to withdraw from this contract destroys the credibility of the CSP. Moreover, it might endanger the country’s energy security in the long term—as energy industry players can now withdraw from contracts when it suits them.
SPPC should be man enough to fulfill its contractual obligations. Likewise, Meralco must be man enough to demand fulfillment of the contract and protect its consumers—lest it is seen as a conduit to the overall market abuse SPPC is trying to push.
As a quasi-judicial body, the ERC should know better not to succumb to these company’s double-talk, and it must always put the welfare of the consumer first before corporate profit.
Nic Satur Jr., national coordinator, Kuryente.Org
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