• ERC urged to reject rule changes

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    The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission to reject calls to change retail competition rules for the power industry, claiming this would raise consumers’ power bills.

    “ERC would be very well-advised if it focuses its capability and resources in addressing the more important challenge of how to achieve a sustainable power supply and competitive price,” PCCI President Alfredo Yao and Director for Energy and Power Jose Alejandro said in a letter to ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar.

    They claimed that the Philippines’ total power demand was only 15,000 megawatts, adding that in the region, the country also had the lowest per capita power consumption, the lowest per capita gross domestic product, the seventh highest power cost in the world and was among those with the lowest annual foreign direct investments (FDI).

    “We are, therefore, really a still ‘developing economy,’” the PCCI officials said. “Any thought beyond that is a mirage.”

    “In addressing the current power situation and challenges we have today, any proposed solution should be, as the saying goes, ‘simple, focused and sweet’,” they added.

    A proposal to allow a distribution utility (DU), through their retail electricity supplier (RES), to directly supply power to a large consumer or “contestable account” (CA) outside its franchise coverage would destabilize power distribution, demand projections and development, Yao and Alejandro said.

    “Every DU must focus itself in improving and enhancing its system and services and inviting as many CAs in its area instead of going around peddling power and sniping at the CAs of another,” they said.

    “Having too many RES … peddling around in this small market demand is definitely going to bring up power cost.”

    The ERC, the PCCI officials said, should not involve itself in the nitty-gritty of policing CAs and RES.

    The Competitive Selection Process that is being proposed and discussed is a good concept that may be viewed as “only one step of many” towards achieving fair competition and transparency, they said.

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