No power disconnection planned till yearend: ERC

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    The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will direct all distribution utilities (DUs) and electric cooperatives (ECs) to defer any power disconnections until the end of the year.

    “We have drafted the advisory that will require that we defer the disconnection due to non-payment.

    We also… recognize that many distribution utilities on their own… have started, have declared their no-disconnection (policies) up to a certain time,” said Agnes Devanadera, ERC chairperson and chief executive officer.

    Devanadera said the deferment will be extended from end- October to end-December based on the provisions of Bayanihan 2.

    “We are advocating and asking all those who can pay their bills, who can meet their bills, to please pay. We are also asking government agencies which have the budget for this to please implement their payment to help out the industry. We have to implement it down the line, it’s a value chain because most of these amounts to be collected will have to be used for the payment to their suppliers,” Devanadera said.

    Meanwhile, Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) is urging the ERC to remain vigilant for possible market irregularities in the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) since the latter has contributed to the higher prices of power in Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) franchise area this month.

    Vic Dimagiba, LKI president, said there is no power supply shortage and yet the P32 per kilowatt hour (kWh) price cap in the WESM was hit on September 5 and 7 caused by forced outages of several power plants due to the natural gas restriction from August 28 to September 6 of the Malampaya.

    “Higher Luzon demand and more generation capacity on outage resulted in P1.1605 per kWh increase in WESM rate… While it is true that demand went up, even with the plant outages, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines did not need to raise a yellow alert. This means reserves in the grid were adequate, with no threat of supply inadequacy. Hence it was surprising that prices still reached P32 per kWh in two separate days even as supply remained sufficient,” Dimagiba said. – J. Macapagal