‘Power deal bids above board’

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    Metro Manila’s power distributor described as baseless the accusation of a consumer group that it virtually threatened the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) into granting it a provisional authority for its five power supply agreements (PSAs).

    The National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. (NASECORE)  said Meralco’s application for provisional authority or temporary authority/approval is tantamount to a threat to the government regulator as it provided the ERC with a deadline of Dec. 26, 2019 to approve the contracts or it may expose consumers to volatile power rates.

    Joe Zaldarriaga, Meralco spokesperson explained the said PSAs underwent competitive selection process that were observed by the Department of Energy.

    “We presented and continue to present our evidence and testimony in public hearings at the ERC, during which other consumer groups expressed their support for the approval of the PSAs except perhaps for a few. We believe the PSAs will benefit our customers through cost competitive and reliable supply,” Zaldarriaga added.

    Zaldarriaga said NASECORE’s claim that Meralco threatened ERC for the PSAs are baseless and unfair as they followed the guidelines in securing the least cost of reliable and adequate power supply.

    Pete Ilagan, NASECORE national president, said the urgency of the situation was created by Meralco itself as it knew as early as 2016 that their power supply portfolio would have a deficit at this time but failed to source its power supply requirements earlier and in a less urgent situation.

    “This application holds hostage the regulators into approving the contracts. It’s a veiled threat not only to ERC but also to its consumers,” Ilagan said.

    Meralco is seeking the approval of ERC for PSAs with San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC, First Gen Hydro Power Corp., South Premiere Power Corp. and AC Energy Philippines formerly Phinma Energy Corp., for a total of 1,905 megawatts as some of its current supply contracts are set to expire on December 25.