SC finds ERC neglected to act on WESM operator’s market fee application


THE Supreme Court (SC) said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) failed to act on the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines’ (IEMOP) application to set market fees for 2021.

In a 24-page ruling on March 23 and made public on Aug. 15, the court’s second division said the ERC’s inaction on the application ran contrary to its mandate to act on and approve applications for market fees by IEMOP.

“By not acting on the market fees application filed by IEMOP, the revenue and budgetary requirements of the Governance Arm and the Market Operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) for Calendar Year 2021 are put on hold and remain unacted upon,” according to the ruling penned by Rodil V. Zalameda.

“The ERC unlawfully neglected and refused to perform the foregoing duties imposed upon it by law.”

IEMOP, a non-stock, non-profit corporation, filed its application to set market fees for 2021 on Aug. 4, 2020.

As the market operator of WESM, IEMOP has the legal right to apply for market fees and seek action from the ERC, the tribunal noted.

The ERC argued that IEMOP’s application lacked the needed documentation.

The High Court found IEMOP’s submission to be compliant with the ERC’s rules.

“However, despite the foregoing, the ERC did not respond to IEMOP or act on any of its additional submissions or compliance,” it said.

“There is thus no basis for ERC to reject or refuse to act on IEMOP’s market fees application on the ground of lacking documentary requirements.”

IEMOP charges market fees, subject  pending the approval by the ERC to recover its yearly operating costs.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act created IEMOP, the centralized venue for the trading of electricity between distribution utilities. — John Victor D. Ordoñez