Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Electricity users join call for RCOA implementation

By Joel R. San Juan - March 5, 2017

THE National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) has joined the mounting calls for the Supreme Court to junk the petition seeking to stop the government from implementing retail competition and open access (RCOA) in the power industry.
In its motion for intervention filed last week before the Court, Nasecore Executive Director Rafael Antonio Acebedo asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit, saying “any decision or resolution to the contrary will definitely prove harmful to the welfare and interest of the electricity consuming public.”
Nasecore said it filed the motion in an effort to reverse the Court’s ruling against RCOA, a policy meant to give consumers the choice to choose their own electricity supplier.
It argued that without RCOA “certain industry players will be able to monopolize and abuse the electricity market.”
The SC earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) that stopped the implementation of RCOA, which was supposed to take effect on February 26, based on a petition filed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ateneo de Manila University, San Beda College (Alabang) and mall owner Riverbanks Development Corp.
“One of the pillars of the restructuring of the energy industry, as envisioned by the Epira [the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001], is the establishment of retail competition and open access. The framers of the Epira believed that the migration of electricity consumers to the competitive retail electricity market would lead to market competition thereby leading to lower and reasonable electricity prices,” Nasecore said in its comment in intervention.
“Nasecore is intervening in the present case based on the ground that the issues raised herein are matters of transcendental importance, public service, policy and interest, and that its electricity consumers-members will be directly, actually and greatly affected by the annulment of the Department of Energy [DOE] and Energy Regulatory Commission’s [ERC] assailed issuances in this petition,” Acebedo said.
Nasecore said it “vehemently disagrees” with the petitioners who wished to stop RCOA, which is covered by DOE Circular DC-2015-06-0010, series of 2015; ERC Resolution 5, Series of 2016; ERC Resolution 10, Series of 2016; ERC Resolution 11, Series of 2016; and ERC Resolution 28, Series of 2016.
“The assailed issuances are valid and reasonable regulatory measures geared toward the promotion of the avowed purposes of the Epira, among others, promote true market competition and prevent harmful monopoly and market power abuse in the electric power industry,” Nasecore said.
The group pointed out  that it is holding on to EPIRA’s promise to promote true market competition and prevent harmful monopoly and market power abuse in the electric power industry.  It hopes that this promise will bring the cost of electricity down not just for the large electricity consumers but also for the end-users at the household level.

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