By Myrna M. Velasco – February 12, 2018, 10:01 PM
from Manila Bulletin
With the regulatory body on its normal functioning now, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has announced to the media that it will prioritize deliberations and promulgation of 61 cases, including certificates of compliance (COCs) to power plant projects so supply could be assured in the coming months.
“What we can do right now is promulgate 61 cases that we have not done during the entire time that they (Commissioners) were suspended,” ERC Chairperson Agnes T. Devanadera said in a press briefing.
Other than COCs of power plants – those that expired and even the new applications, she noted that several power supply agreements (PSAs) will also be acted upon by the Commission.
Nevertheless, she qualified that such will not include yet the controversial seven PSAs of power projects being advanced by Manila Electric Company (Meralco); as well as the expired licenses of retail electricity suppliers (RES) because of the pending case at the Supreme Court questioning the rules on Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) policy.
“Our process is that, for these cases, they are being studied first by our technical people, then they will present it to the Commission – and then the Commission will deliberate and then we will act,” Devanadera explained.
She added there had also been instances when particular decisions or cases presentations to the Commission level would merit either modification or denial. Additionally, the ERC chair noted that one of the major rules they will be issuing next week would be on reduction of system loss caps that shall be factored in into pass-on of rates to consumers.
For private distribution utilities, the target of the ERC will be to pare system loss to 5.5-percent and will have a transition reduction of 6.5-percent; while for electric cooperatives from 13-percent to a low of 8.25-percent and a transitioning reduction of 12-percent.
“The Commission has already approved the rules on system loss cap. There was engagement of consultants to study this and there were consultations all over for this,” Devanadera explained.
She stressed “this is something very, very important – because as we know, system loss is being passed on to the consumers.”
Devanadera emphasized that under the new rules, the distribution utilities shall be directed as to what level of system loss can just be covered in the tariffs that they shall be reflecting in their bills.