David Celestra Tan, MSK
30 December 2017
We hope that the OMB findings on infractions of the five ERC Commissioners in evidently facilitating Meralco’s evasion of the CSP deadline, will lead to somethings better not only to changes in personalities but also in the regulatory soul of the Energy Regulatory Commission.
It’s a New Year and we hope again for better treatment of consumers by the ERC.
- We wish that new ERC Chair Agnes Devanadera will be an agent of positive change for a more balanced and efficient ERC with a clear sense of regulatory purpose, and for her to be judicious and cautious as she starts to immerse herself in this complex and treacherous power sector. (Actually it is not that complex if navigated with the right heart and moral compass).
- We wish the ERC had been awakened from its regulatory stupor and hypnotized capture as an institution and will resolve to remain free and discover the wondrous life fulfillment of standing up for truth, justice, and the rights of the long exploited 100 million Filipinos.
- We wish the ERC Commissioners and their OIC’s will discern that there can be a happy balance between assuring that capitalists providing electric delivery services can be assured of fair return on their investments and protecting the interest of the electric consumers and the country’s energy competitiveness. That the capitalists (and ERC) will realize that it is to their long term interest to treat customers with respect and that the way to win their loyalty long term is to provide good value in services. Not in overcharging them through their captured regulators. Electricity, especially its distribution, is after all a public service that is essential to the daily lives of our people and economy.
- We wish the appointing party, the Office of the President, will step in and avoid the paralysis at the ERC by bestowing it with quorum of three through the deferment in the suspension of the two least guilty of the four suspended commissioners while he is looking for proper replacements. (Except however for these extended commissioners to be not involved in evaluating the Meralco midnight contracts).
- We wish the ERC will find a win-win resolution to the eight (8) Power Supply Agreements totaling 4,015mw awarded by Meralco to power generation projects controlled by its sister Meralco PowerGen where the CSP deficiencies of about 2,000mw are resolved to assure the country has additional power supply by 2021 and for the remaining 2,015mw to be subjected to open competitive bidding. And for it to similarly resolve with transparent guidelines the estimated 300mw of PSA’s signed by electric cooperatives and filed with the ERC from November 6, 2015 to April 30, 2016.
- We wish the ERC will commit to the pursuit of truly least cost power by assuring true competition and to the assurance of future supply by opening the power generation sector to independent generators and preventing monopolization and cartelization. For it to start hearing MSK petition Case No. 2017-007 on cartelization and to clearly define the rules on determining concentration of market power in generation. For it to establish clearer rules on when swiss challenge CSP’s would be justifiable, an area that is being abused in the off-grid areas resulting to disadvantageous PSA’s that increase missionary subsidies in the billions.
- We wish the ERC will stop the overpricing of power by eliminating the inequities of the PBR rate making methodology or Performance Base Rate making and the systems loss loopholes that had been enabling Meralco to make an unconscionable 25% return on equity for a franchised distribution utility monopoly that had been granted by the state.
- We wish the ERC as a quasi-judicial body will be more quasi for the public interest and less blindly judicial in its processes that had been making it consumer unfriendly. We wish ERC will free itself from being enamored as a judicial institution and pursue not only the letter of the Epira Law and its guidelines and resolutions, but temper its decisions with a spirit for public interest. The what for consumer interest to be as important as the how of its judicial processes.
- We wish for the ERC to become more efficient and timely by strengthening itself on areas that it needs to regulate and shedding those areas that it does not need to regulate. Towards efficiency and transparency, for it to issue clearer guidelines for applications.
- We wish for the ERC to strengthen its bureaucracy by enhancing its ability to recruit, train, and retain needed right-hearted talent and professionals.
- We wish new Chair Agnes Devanadera will infuse the ERC with a code of conduct to avoid its Commissioners and officials from being compromised specially by the vested interests.
- We wish for the ERC to be blessed by President Duterte, as the appointing authority, with the right commissioners who would have the professional competence and heart for the consumers, not beholden to the vested interests, and committed to the pursuit of the ERC’s mandate to assure sufficient supply of power at fair, reasonable, and least costs.
We wish for the President as he goes about making his choices, to be guided by His Infinite Wisdom, to realize this rare and crucial opportunity to finally right the course of this wayward Agency that has been neglecting our people and country for so long. We cannot let down our future generations and curse them with the legacy of a power industry lost in its own disarray, forever enticed and captured by the vested interests, and incapable of looking after the public interest.
(And we hope in the process he does not recycle old ERC people who messed up the Agency in the first place).
Happy New Year to all!
Thought for this Giving Season: “To the world you are one man, to one man you are the world”
Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc.