(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) is easing its rules on the transition of consumers with at least 750 kilowatts (kw) in monthly demand to an open market scheme to avert any more delays in the implementation of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA).
The agency will be coming up with the rules for the transition of 750-kw monthly end-users to RCOA which is scheduled on June 26, 2017, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a briefing.
“What we’re going to do for the 750-kw threshold, which is targeted in June, I think it will be voluntary. (But) we’ll have to come up with a new circular,” he said.
The DOE chief said the new rules may only call for voluntary transition and will not include penalties for non-compliance since he is against that provision.
The decision to form new rules came after a temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued by the Supreme Court on the DOE and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to implement the mandatory migration of large power consumers to RCOA.
The TRO was sought by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), San Beda College Alabang Inc., Ateneo de Manila University and Riverbanks Development Corp., which said customers must be given a choice to stay with their current distribution utility suppliers.
The mandatory migration to RCOA of end-users with at least one megawatt (MW) is scheduled on Feb. 26, 2017.
Following this development, Energy Undersecretary William Fuentebella said the DOE, ERC and the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) will now form a unified policy to guide power players on shifting to the open market scheme.
The unified position would allay concerns raised by market players on the impact of the TRO and provide a “balanced playing field” to those who have signed to participate in the open access regime, Fuentebella said.
In the meantime, big power users who have already executed their retail supplier contracts can continue with their agreement with retail electricity suppliers, Cusi said.
“What has been issued a TRO, to my understanding, was the mandatory in one-MW. Under the mandatory, those who have prepared for the transition and signed contracts can proceed. Those others who want to sign up under optional or voluntary, they can proceed with that,” he said.