Motions covering disputed power supply agreements (PSAs) sealed by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will still be considered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) despite initial rejections.
A day after announcing the denial of petitions for intervention due to technicalities, ERC officer-in-charge Alfredo Non said the regulator would instead treat the filings as oppositions.
The ERC explained that had rejected the motions “considering the length of time which had already elapsed after the initial hearing of the subject Meralco PSA applications…”.
It noted that petitioners Romeo Junia and Fe Bait submitted their motions seven months following a preliminary hearing, while Uriel Borja filed his nine months after a November 23, 2016 hearing.
Under ERC rules, petitions for intervention must be lodged at least five days before a hearing, the regulator said on Tuesday when it released an August 30 ruling denying the motions.
The ERC also declared that the petitioners had no legal personality to file the motions.
Non said the regulator had taken a liberal approach and would accord due process to anyone who wants to participate in any case or proceeding.
The petitioners are questioning Meralco’s power deals with Atimonan One Energy Inc., Panay Energy
Development Corp., Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc., and St. Raphael Power Generation Corp.
The PSAs have yet to be approved and the ERC said that only the deal with Panay Energy had been granted a provisional authority.
Civil society organizations, consumer groups, and homeowners on Wednesday decried the ERC’s ruling to reject the petitions for intervention, which are part of a larger complaint involving alleged “sweetheart” deals totaling 3,551 megawatts with seven sister companies.
The dismissal rejected the people’s “right to choose cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives than those offered by Meralco and its partners,” Center for Energy, Ecology and Development Executive Director Gerry Arances said.
Arances said the deals were clear attempts to shut out competition, specifically those from the “renewable energy sector offering to sell power generated at a much lower cost.”
Sanlakas Secretary General Aaron Pedrosa said they would file a motion for reconsideration and exhaust all legal remedies, adding the ERC decision had set the tone a House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability hearing on September 26.
Sanlakas has filed a case before the Ombudsman against the ERC, claiming that the agency’s top officials had committed graft “after the office suspiciously moving the implementation of CSP rules four months after taking effect, leaving the door open for the Meralco to skip the competitive selection process.”