ERC notes complaints from contestable power customers 

LIMA central business district is LIMA Estate’s 30-hectare commercial area in Batangas.
— COMPANY HANDOUT

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) complaints are rising from contestable customers concerning the alleged improper implementation and unilateral termination of retail supply contracts (RSCs).

In a statement, ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said the regulator has also received complaints from contestable customers regarding the fuel cost recovery adjustment in fixed-price contracts.

The ERC said that to date, it has logged 16 complaints involving deals covering 123.69-megawatts (MW). Nine of the affected customers are major manufacturers.

“While the letters on file cover 16 complaints with the ERC, it appears that many more contestable customers are affected; thus, this 126 MW is just a fraction of the capacity affected. We are taking this seriously especially since these contestable customers belong to industries which are critical to our economic recovery,” Ms. Dimalanta said.

Contestable customers are large end-users that are able to purchase power directly from retail electricity suppliers (RES) under the retail competition and open access program (RCOA), as authorized by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

RCOA introduces retail competition to the energy industry. It allows consumers with an average monthly consumption of 1 MW to obtain retail supply contracts from RES. Energy consumers can also customize their supply contracts according to dispatch, technology, or power plant.

The ERC said that it has referred the issue to the Department of Energy and the Department of Trade and Industry to determine the steps to be taken to protect the interests of contestable customers.

“The ERC encourages the parties to amicably settle their disputes based on the Complaints Handling Procedures and Dispute Resolutions of the RES, as well as the Dispute Resolution or Arbitration clause incorporated in their respective RSCs,” Ms. Dimalanta said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose