Lawmakers urge power firm to relax selection terms

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    Lawmakers are urging the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to further relax its terms of reference and allow old and existing power plants in the competitive selection process (CSP) that it is conducting for 1,200 megawatts worth of power.

    The call came after the company insists that bids for brownfield and greenfield power plants as there are financial and economic differences between the two.

    Senate committee on energy chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said the CSP is meant to ensure consumers that electricity being procured by utilities undergo a fair and transparent bidding process that will yield to the lowest electricity price which means that brownfield power plants will have a role to play.

    “All possible power plants, regardless of whether it is brownfield or greenfield, should be allowed to participate and compete in the CSP. It will be the only way to ensure that the lowest price of electricity will be served to consumers. In the end, electricity being procured by all ulitities will eventually be 100 percent passed on to the consumers,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares saidthe Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) have the power to stop the CSP by not granting an approval unless consumers are assured of an independent bidding process that ensures the cheapest supply of electricity to the consumers.

    “Any approval of the DOE and the ERC of bidding procedures that are not independent and fair practically tramples on the judicial and statutory requirements that distribution utilities must provide electricity to consumers at the least cost; and should result in judicial sanctions,” Colmenares said in a statement.

    Meralco had earlier said a “dichotomy” between brownfield and greenfield power plants must be maintained “to provide incentive to build new plants.”