By Myrna M. Velasco
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has found several power generation companies (GenCos) violating industry rules, including non-submission of plant outage reports, hence regulatory penalties will likely be meted against them.
ERC Commissioner Catherine P. Maceda sounded off in the investigation of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) that many GenCos are “pasaway” (stubborn) – and she was referring to acts of the power firms that may be up for the industry regulator’s reprimand.
Nevertheless, she qualified that penalties or sanctions will not just be imposed upon them without first going through the requisite due process of law and proper rules’ enforcements. Maceda said she cannot name yet the erring GenCos, because their alleged violations are still up for deliberations of the commission en banc.
“Those (GenCos) that will not comply will be penalized, but of course with due process. There will be sheer penalties after the reports,” she told reporters.
Aside from non-submission of outage reports, Maceda further indicated that many power supply agreements (PSAs) between GenCos and distribution utilities (DUs) do not have provision for replacement power, hence, that will be part of the regulatory fix that the Commission will be working on.
Over at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), Executive Director Kenneth V. Tanate emphasized that their next move will be to require the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) to submit a report on revenues generated by GenCo-trading participants on the periods when yellow and red alerts were happening in Luzon grid.
“We will require submission up to the point that there’s available data because it will be worth examining those figures – we might need these to determine collusion or anti-competitive behavior,” he said.
According to Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) Chief Governance Officer Rauf A. Tan, the figures on the GenCo revenues will be available 15 days from the end of the April 26 billing cycle – so they are expecting that to be turned over to PCC by mid-May. PEMC has oversight role over the operations of the WESM.
The PCC has also recommended the creation of a task force so they can closely coordinate with the ERC and the Department of Energy (DOE) as well as with PEMC in the investigation of any alleged “market gaming”, anti-competitive behavior or abuse of market power that may have happened during the tight supply cycle in the country’s major power grid.
“There’s a formal request from DOE and ERC for close coordination and the possible creation of a task force on inquiries on the power outages,” Tanate said.
But in the core of investigating any alleged violations while the forced outages in power plants have been causing brownouts, the PCC opined that it shall be its mandate that must be followed in the probe process.
“We have the primary and original jurisdiction on competition concerns, so I hope that (investigation) will fall upon us…that’s also the purpose of the MOA (memorandum of agreement) – to clarify our mandate and delineate our roles,” the PCC official stressed. Such mandate had been prescribed under Sections 14, 15 and 17 of the Philippine Competition Act, the law that created the PCC.
Tanate qualified that there was already a draft MOA. “We hope to have that signed sooner and we actually have a letter to the DOE and ERC for close coordination between us regarding the fact-finding on these outages.”