ERC urged to resolve collectibles issue

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    The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to quickly resolve the pending cases involving the state-owned firm’s collection of unpaid dues totalling P216 million from several distribution companies and industries.

    According to a statement sent by the Department of Finance (DOF) yesterday, Irene Besido Garcia, PSALM president and chief executive officer, said these cases involve unpaid Default Wholesale Supplier Arrangement (DWSA) charges of five firms that have contested the payment of these obligations before the ERC.

    These cases involve Angeles Electric Corp., San Fernando Light and Power Co. and Tarlac Electric Inc., which jointly questioned PSALM’s collection of P75.001 million in DWSA charges.

    PSALM also aims to collect P2.681 million from Melters Steel Corp., which has also lodged a case against the state-owned firm and the National Power Corp. (NPC) before the ERC.

    Another pending case before the ERC involving unpaid DWSA charges and power bill adjustments was filed by the Steel Corp. of the Philippines amounting to P138.321 million.

    “These cases delay PSALM’s collection efforts. The cases have been submitted for ERC’s decision several years ago. We hope that ERC can help us to finally collect the DWSAs due to PSALM, which we desperately need in order to be able to settle the remaining obligations we assumed from NPC,” Garcia said.

    DOF secretary Carlos Dominguez, who chairs PSALM’s board of directors, and Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi, vice-chair of the board, were furnished copies of PSALM’s letter to ERC.

    In her letter, Garcia stressed that “PSALM is very confident of its legal position for collecting these DWSAs. PSALM is mandated to impose the NPC Grid Rate or the WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) Ex-Post Nodal Energy Price, whichever is higher, and a premium of 10 percent.”

    Garcia pointed out that PSALM’s position on this issue is fully supported by both the ERC and DOE, as reflected, respectively, in ERC Resolution No. 44, series of 2006 and DOE Circular No. 2006-06-0009.

    PSALM’s borrowing costs amount to about 8 percent per annum, which could be reduced if the pending cases are resolved soon and the debtors are directed to pay PSALM at once, Garcia said.

    Earlier, PSALM also demanded payment from 14 firms with long-overdue obligations amounting to P1.931 billion. It is likewise bent on collecting P238.3 million in unremitted universal charge from eleven 11 electric cooperatives.

    All these efforts of PSALM are intended to increase collections that will be used to pay for maturing obligations of NPC, the DOF said.