Bayan Muna joins calls vs power deals
The Bayan Muna party-list group has joined calls for the Supreme Court to nullify several alleged “sweetheart deals” entered into by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) with affiliated power generating companies in 2016 that critics claimed would lead to high electricity rates for the next 20 years.
In a 28-page petition-in-intervention, Bayan Muna chair and opposition senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate asked the high court to immediately issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to keep the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from approving Meralco’s power supply agreements (PSAs).
The original petition was filed by a nongovernmental organization, Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas Inc., in 2017.
Aside from Meralco and the ERC, also named respondents in the original petition were the Department of Energy and the Philippine Competition Commission, as well as seven power generating companies—Central Luzon Premiere Power Corp., St. Raphael Power Generation Corp., Panay Energy Development Corp., Mariveles Power Generation Corp., Global Luzon Energy Development Corp., Atimonan One Energy Inc. and Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc.
Bayan Muna called on the high tribunal to declare null and void ERC Resolution No. 1 which reset the deadline for compliance with the competitive selection process (CSP) from Nov. 6, 2015, to April 30, 2016, which led to exemptions by PSAs from public bidding.
The CSP required power distributors to get at least two offers for supply of electricity before awarding a PSA, ensuring the least cost for electricity consumers.
The Bayan Muna petition said there was no reason for ERC Resolution No. 1 “other than to facilitate the approval” of Meralco’s deals with its affiliated power suppliers.
It allegedwhen the ERC extended the deadline for compliance with the CSP from November 2015 to April 2016, it allowed Meralco to enter into seven deals with its affiliated generating firms.
P12.44B per year
These deals, Bayan Muna said, tied up 3,551 megawatts of power, or 90 percent of Meralco supply, to 20-year contracts that would cost consumers P12.44 billion per year.
Bayan Muna said the ERC violated its own rules of procedure by allowing the controversial PSAs to be filed beyond deadline.
“The ERC circumvented the CSP mandate twice over—first in extending its actual implementation via the assailed ERC resolution and second in accommodating the late filers beyond office hours and beyond April 29,” the petition read.
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