THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has asked the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) Friday to support the reform measures being introduced in the electric power sector, which, it said, are in the best interest of consumers.
The ERC move follows Meralco’s motion in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 157 for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the implementation of the guidelines issued by the ERC on Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA).
ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar described the RCOA as a major milestone in the country’s bid to make electricity rates more affordable to end-users.
RCOA, he said, “is designed to change the current situation where customers do not have the choice as to who will supply their power requirements and are dependent on utilities designated purely on the basis of geographical territory.”
“This is why they are technically termed captive customers,” said Salazar.
Captive Market means those electricity users who do not have a choice of a supplier unlike others in the Contestable Market with the choice of a supplier.
According to Salazar, the RCOA is a big step towards “putting the power of choice of electricity supplier in the hands of the customers”.
He further explained that through RCOA, more ‘captive customers’ will become able to enjoy the benefits of contestable market where all retail electricity suppliers compete.
“I am confident that Meralco will see that the RCOA is good both for its customers and its business,” said Salazar. He also added that he could find no strong reason for Meralco to block a mechanism which would be good for the retail customer base in its present service area.”
The direction of the power sector, he pointed out, is “clearly towards higher levels of competition which would assure all types of customers the best and affordable rates.”
“The power sector has already taken big steps in this direction, particularly with the implementation of the Competitive Selection Process (CSP),” he said. The CSP requires all distribution utilities to conduct open and competitive process in selecting the power generating company from which they are to purchase their supply.