January 18, 2018, 4:00 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07263 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.14992 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03521 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37318 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02474 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03521 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03956 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.63687 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03163 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00745 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.63172 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01978 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02627 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13568 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06382 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01978 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.25445 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19324 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 395.96518 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03951 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02456 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01896 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.96895 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12736 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 56.62579 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.15506 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01978 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.77275 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.40883 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.49743 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1197 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95886 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.24462 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25141 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34978 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.53817 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01607 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03956 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01433 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01431 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08957 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.9371 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 177.94699 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14509 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.07219 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15475 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46509 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11922 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.25771 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.9644 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 263.35047 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06775 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.266 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.41772 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 723.08147 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.02255 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.43928 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01399 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.18216 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03224 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.37189 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 79.26622 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 8.12896 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.80063 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.02452 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00594 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01622 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.47765 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 163.7856 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.88528 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.04292 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.5093 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24248 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0603 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01227 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02646 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18183 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33356 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.98418 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.46361 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 47.8837 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1593 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.96203 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64676 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.30795 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.11195 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37086 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07803 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24161 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 7.0807 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6072 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15518 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0265 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02715 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0076 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01978 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06341 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0624 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.18473 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06706 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 110.52215 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07202 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07488 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.11739 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.52987 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07417 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15387 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26503 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13841 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15847 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02609 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01433 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4392 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 150.90981 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.85839 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 393.89636 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17306 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.18552 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24175 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.63054 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04769 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04409 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07507 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13281 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5839 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 44.34335 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56547 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.79588 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01978 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56468 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 160.81883 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19729 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 449.14952 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0449 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04966 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.5352 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0534 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.5352 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.90645 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.94363 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24183 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 102.64043 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.15783 Zimbabwe dollar

Regulating the electricity value chain

For many, it was long overdue. The dysfunctionalities at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had for too long gone essentially unaddressed even as the accusations of regulatory impropriety within its ranks had gotten worse in inverse proportion to the headlines they created. Perhaps it was a function of public exasperation with a body that seemed unable to do anything right.

In Congress, during the deliberations on the budget of the ERC, it was proposed that the agency’s budget for the coming fiscal be reduced to P1,000.  The message was as clear as day. The slash was punitive. But was the punishment the right penalty? And did it address whatever it is the ERC had for some time been doing wrong?

For the public, afflicted with short memories and a serious propensity to focus only on the simplest sound bytes, few controversies involving the ERC merit seriously rethinking its existence. More so for an agency that is actually more powerful than the Department of Energy from whose ribcage the ERC was taken.

People might remember the investigations on collusion with a distribution utility (DU) way back in December of 2013 when power tariffs suddenly spiked as sources from the Malampaya gas fields went offline and the DU started purchasing power from more expensive generators at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

Under the Duterte administration, people might remember a sordid story of suicide following controversies on the bidding of an audio-visual project within the ERC. Suspensions were meted out in that controversy. Later instances of insubordination between the Palace and certain ERC officials filled page two of a few broadsheets.

Recently, some sectors blasted the ERC when it authorized negotiated purchases with high cost generators sans open and public bidding.

It is unfortunate that the history of ERC controversies remain largely unresolved, especially where these have systemic negative impacts on the cost of power. Curiously, for the most of these, the controversies involve another equally powerful entity, this time a listed private icon critical to any business enterprise in Luzon. 

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) exists on the basis of its congressional franchise. Within its DNA, the company has virtual political influences which it has been known to exercise both by virtue of being a monopoly in the franchise area awarded it, and by the sheer size of the corporation itself. 

As a listed company, it is answerable to three basic authorities that do not often agree with one another. First is the franchise-giver which is Congress. The second is the market served by the company. And last, as a corporation, Meralco is answerable to its shareholders.

As a corporation the measures of performance are classic textbook indicators. It seeks to maximize shareholder value and returns on investment. It increases revenues to fatten bottom lines and build up for future fixed asset development and expansion. On these, the company has been exceptionally successful.

As a DU, and a franchise at that, the company operates under given limitations, one of which is the requirement that it source power from “least cost” providers.

By analyzing the importance that Meralco plays in the electricity value chain that the ERC regulates we can appreciate the frustration of Congress that led it to punish the ERC with measures that practically abolish it.

For one, the services provided by Meralco account for what may possibly be the largest operating expense item in the income statement of almost any business enterprise covered by Meralco’s franchise.

Indulge us some simplicity. Meralco distributes the electrons passed on from those who generate it and those who transmit it. The entities who generate lie largely unregulated while those who transmit and those who distribute have to pass through the ERC. Keeping in mind the concept of regulatory capture, this simple analysis of the electricity value chain shows were margins are unregulated and can therefore be the widest relative to regulated viabilities. This also shows why any links among generators, transmission companies and the DUs should be separate and distinct. More important, it shows why collusion and connivance create conspiracies where profits shift around through effective but hidden transfer pricing protocols and therefore pass easily up and down the chain.

Because regulation plays a critical role in delineating both functions and financials in the value chain,  we can see where the ERC might be remiss should it allow negotiated and un-challenged contractual relationships among different entities in the value chain, specifically between a virtual monopoly like Meralco and its unregulated generators. Moreover, regulation rather than negotiation becomes increasingly critical given the tariffs paid by the public for the energy provided by each player in the electricity value chain.

What controversies envelope the ERC recently are questions of both market power and market abuse. It is not the reported issues of over-priced audiovisual contracts, or the question of expertise and qualifications, or its lack, among its politically-appointed commissioners. It is not even about the insubordination charges leveled against its officers by the Executive Branch.

Rather, it is connivance that leads to market abuse and are akin to economic sabotage where prohibitive and unjust tariffs amounting to millions inflicted on the public result from collusion and conspiratorial greed. Since December 2013, there have been several instances of market abuse, all on the level of economic sabotage. Most are unfortunately unresolved to this day.
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