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ERC urged: Act on controversial power deals

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 05:26 AM February 03, 2019

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should now go full blast in probing seven allegedly anomalous power supply agreements (PSAs) entered into by Manila Electric Company (Meralco), which have been pending at the commission for the past three years, militant lawmakers said on Thursday.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said the ERC no longer had any reason to sit on the petitions as it was on its way to being complete again after the appointment of three commissioners to posts left vacant last year.

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“The newly constituted ERC with full membership should go full throttle on investigating all deals that is not to the best interest of consumers,” Villarin said in a statement.

Coal plants

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He said the multitrillion-peso PSAs, which involved deals on coal-fired power plants, were filed at the ERC in 2016 by generation companies affiliated with Meralco.

These projects included the Atimonan One Energy Inc. and Central Luzon Premiere Power Corp., both in Quezon province, which are building a 1,200-megawatt (MW) plant and a 528-MW plant, respectively; Global Luzon Energy Development Corp. (600 MW) in La Union; Mariveles Power Generation Corp. (528 MW) in Bataan; St. Raphael Power Generation Corp. (400 MW) in Batangas; Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (225 MW) in Zambales; and Panay Energy Development Corp. (70 MW) in Iloilo province.

Villarin said the ERC owed it to consumers to stop “unjust” charges borne out of the power deals.

The ERC, the lawmaker said, “should be independent and critical of all applicants for energy power generation supply and distribution” which “tend to create monopolies and control of the market.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate urged the ERC to study the findings of the House investigation on the supposed “sweetheart” power deals.

House findings

“During the House hearings, it was shown and proven that the seven power supply agreements were actually filed beyond even the extended deadline,” Zarate said in another statement.

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Zarate, who initiated the House probe in 2017, said consumers would shoulder P930 billion in additional rates within the 20- to 21-year duration of the PSAs should the ERC approve these.

He said ERC must compel power distributors to submit PSAs to a competitive selection process (CSP).

CSP is a bidding process mandated by a Department of Energy circular.

ERC chair Agnes Devanadera had reportedly cited lack of quorum at the commission for the delay in action on the controversial PSAs.

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TAGS: anomalous power supply agreements, Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC, MERALCO, Tom Villarin
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