• Fines against TMO for ‘must-offer’ rule violation to stay – DOE

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    THE P234.9 million fine slapped by the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) against Therma Mobile Inc. (TMO), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., will stay.

    The Department of Energy (DOE) has directed that PEMC to stand firm on its findings that TMO violated the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market’s (WESM) “must-offer” rule.

    Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said he directed PEMC to determine whether it committed mistakes in its decision penalizing TMO for committing the offense.

    But Petilla said PEMC should stand pat on its decision as there was no reason to overturn its findings.

    Besides, Petilla added, TMO was already given the chance to challenge the findings and prove its case.

    “We have to stand by it. Aboitiz was already given the chance to prove itself several times and it remains unchanged,” said Petilla, who is also the chairman of PEMC Board.

    He also clarified that the investigation of PEMC against TMO is merely on violations of WESM rules covering the period of October to December 2013.

    PEMC president Melinda Ocampo earlier said the decision of the companies to withhold capacities or not make an offer likely resulted in higher power rates at the WESM in November and December 2013.

    All WESM participants are required to offer their capacities under the must-offer rule.

    The Energy chief said PEMC only investigated breaches of the WESM rules and not instances of anti-competitive behavior.

    Such authority is vested with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) pursuant to Republic Act No. 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

    At the same time, Petilla ordered the PEMC Investigation Unit (IU) to speed up its investigation into alleged violations of the “Must-Offer” rules.

    He said PEMC IU should finish its investigations before the Department of Justice (DOJ) starts its own probe for possible criminal liabilities of concerned companies.

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