ERC warned against acting on power supply deals without House report

Published April 18, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Ben R. Rosario

A senior opposition lawmaker on Wednesday warned the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) against resolving Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) seven power supply agreement (PSA) applications, saying such move will be based on a prematurely released report of a joint committee tasked to investigate ERC’s alleged midnight deals.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said that the House of Representatives has not yet acted on the reported recommendation of the House Committee on Good Government and on Energy because  the Rules Committee decided to return the report to the joint panel.

Zarate explained that the House leadership returned the report to the joint committee because it might run in conflict with the results of another topic of the inquiry which centered on the anomalous bidding process for PSA.

“Nagkaroonng confusion. The committee report is not yet official because it has not been submitted for plenary action,” Zarate said.

He stressed that the main reason for the joint panel probe is to determine liability of ERC officials who decided to defer rules of the competitive selection process (CSP) in order to accommodate Meralco’s seven PSA applications.

Zarate, together with Reps. Robert Ace Barbers (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Norte) and Bernadette HerreraDy (Bagong  Henerasyon Partylist), has assailed the ERC for adjusting the deadline for the submission of Meralco’s PSA applications.

Zarate’s statement belied earlier claims by Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez who insisted that the ERC should now resolve the PSA applications of Meralco.

The alleged joint committee report also drew the ire of a consumer group that assailed the panel for the “shameless whitewash” of the probe in order to favor ERC.

Rodolfo “RJ” JavellanaJr., president of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC), aired this challenge as he assailed the ERC for its determined bid to award seven multi-trillion-peso power supply agreements to Meralco despite the “onerous” terms that would disadvantage consumers and even the government.