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Monday, February 19, 2018

Power suppliers seek parallel DOE policy on allowing service continuity

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By Myrna M. Velasco

Retail power suppliers affiliated with the Retail Electricity Suppliers Association Inc. (RESA) are seeking the imprimatur of the Department of Energy (DOE) for a parallel policy issuance allowing them to offer continued service to customers even with the expiration of their licenses.

The power retailers are similarly situated with those of the power plants without certificates of compliance (COCs) or permits to operate because of the lingering impasse at the Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a formal correspondence to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, RESA President Raymond R. Roseus indicated that of the 30 licensed retail electricity suppliers (RES), “seven have licenses which have expired with pending applications that have yet to be acted upon.”

He added that the number had not even included yet those entities “which have made submissions to the ERC for issuance of a RES license.”

It is worth noting that in the case of the power plants with expired COCs or permits to operate, the DOE has initiated the issuance of a resolution with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) allowing such power facilities to offer their capacities in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) even without COCs, just so Filipino won’t suffer power supply interruptions.

“We note the previous Circulars your office has issued to ensure the continued operation of the supply sector, however, with the current legal issues affecting the operation of the ERC, we wish to seek your support for a measure that will provide a similar solution to the supply sector,” Roseus has stipulated in his letter to the DOE chief.

In the case of the RES entities, those with expired licenses if unable to operate, cannot also offer continued service – to the detriment of their customers.

For Luzon and Visayas grids wherein retail competition and open access (RCOA) is already in force, customers in the contestable market account for 33.86-percent of system peak.

Contestable customers are those segments of end-users who can already exercise their power of choice in underwriting contracts with preferred electricity suppliers. Their service needs are typically catered to by retail electricity suppliers.

Retail power customers with contracts, it was emphasized, account for 917 subscribers with aggregate demand of 2,326.49 megawatts.

Both the ERC and DOE have already pleaded several times to Malacañang on immediate appointment of acting Commissioners, but legal review of parameters on temporary appointments had apparently been taking time.

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