Bayan Muna welcomes finality of SC decision on bidding of Meralco supply deals
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s announcement of the finality of its decision voiding 90 Power Supply Agreements (PSAs) that did not undergo bidding and requiring distribution utilities (DUs) like Meralco to bid out its supply agreements.
However, they informed the tribunal that the procedure being employed by Meralco could defeat the decision of the High Court as it gives Meralco full control of the bidding and ousts the Department of Energy and an independent third party from supervising the bidding process.
Zarate, the House Minority leader, made the revelation in an Intervention Petition he filed on the main case.
“What is being employed by Meralco in the bidding process is DOE Circular 2018-02-003 which ousted the DOE from supervising the bidding and allow Meralco control of the bidding process. While the original DOE Circular DC2015-06-0008 requires a third party auctioner recognized by the DOE to oversee the competitive selection process (CSP), DC 2018-02-003 no longer requires DOE recognized Third Party, thereby ousting the DOE from ensuring that no irregularities and self-dealing will take place in the CSP or bidding. We also take to task the DOE for suspiciously and voluntarily relinquishing its power tooversee the bidding process” said the Davao-based Solon.
“Meralco is rushing the bidding process practically making it difficult for suppliers, other than its affiliates of course, to reasonably bid for supply agreements. Meralco recently announced that its pre-bid conference for three huge supply contracts totaling nearly 2,800 MW, shall be held today August 9, 2019 which practically disadvantages suppliers who are not Meralco affiliates. Meralco is rushing the bidding of the three contracts on September 11, 2019. when in fact the supply project is scheduled in 2024. Why the sudden rush? This rush makes it nearly impossible for bidders to make a sound and intelligent bid with barely a month to prepare, unless the supplier was given advance information byMeralco” said co-intervenor Colmenares.
“Worse there are reportedly technical requirements that seem to narrow the field to certain plants,among which, is the Meralco-owned Atimonan plant,” he added.
Colmenares also revealed Meralco’s control of the bidding committee which places consumers at a disadvantage.
“The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is composed of three Meralco officers or employees while the remaining two members to be chosen by Meralco will supposedly come from the consumers, giving Meralco a majority in the bidding committee,” Colmenares pointed out.
“Bayan Muna will file a bill that will require genuinely independent consumer participation in all boards and other major bodies of public utilities. For the meantime we urge the Supreme Court or the DOE to step in and issue rules that will require third party supervision in the bidding process to ensure that the supply contracted by Meralco is the genuinely lowest possible price. Electricity rates in the Philippines is one of the highest in the world and an un-transparent bidding process controlled by the DU will only exacerbate the heavy rates imposed on consumers.” Colmenares added.
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