CA orders parties to answer consumer suit vs. ERC

MANILA A ruling by the Court of Appeals (CA) has taken a second look at a suit seeking a review of an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) decision, favoring the power distribution company Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

The appellate court's 3rd Division composed of Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang, Elihu Ybanez, Pedro Corales ordered the utility firm to file its comment on the order within 10 days from receipt and reconsidered its earlier resolution, denying the petition of consumer advocate, Romeo Junia.

Junia has opposed the approval of seven Meralco power supply agreements allegedly filed after the ERC's Competitive Selection Process deadline and above market price.

The CA had denied Junia's petition for review in February this year.

In its Nov. 15, 2018 order, however, the Court said, After a careful review of the arguments, we shall allow the instant motion (for reconsideration). We agree with Junia that the public be provided an opportunity to determine whether or not the public may attain, in the best way, the least-cost energy in the Power Supply Agreements.

On Jan. 18, 2018, Junia filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for review of ERC's denial of his petition to intervene in Meralco's applications for approval of its power supply agreements (PSAs) because of late filing.

He argued that Meralco's PSAs were filed out of time or after deadline and should not have been received and docketed without compliance with the Competitive Selection Process.

Lacking the CSP, the contracts were not aligned with market price and were for long terms 20 to 22 years, Junia said.

Out of the seven PSAs, Meralco, through wholly-owned Meralco Power Generation Company, has substantial investments in at least five of the PSAs, with the biggest plant (1,200 megawatts), which is 100 percent owned by MGen, he added.

The PSAs are Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. for 225 MW, 47-percent owned by MGen; Atimonan One Energy, 1,200 MW, 100-percent owned; St. Raphael Power Gen. Corp., 400 MW, 50-percent owned; Central Luzon Premiere Power Corp. 528 MW; Mariveles Power Gen. Corp. 528 MW, 49-percent owned; Panay Energy Dev. Corp. 70 MW, 14-percent owned; and Global Luzon Energy Development Corp, 600 MW. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency