• Group questions legality of DOE circular

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    The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Circular 2015-06-0008 pushing for the implementation of the Competitive Selection Process or CSP is legally questionable, according to Angelo Palmones, president of party-list group Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM).

    Palmones issued the statement recently in agreement with recent pronouncements made by the House energy committee during a forum on CSP organized by the University of the Philippines-Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS).

    He wondered why the circular was issued by former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla just days before he resigned from his post.

    “I strongly believe that DOE is encroaching on the Energy Regulatory Commission’s [ERC] jurisdiction by making the regulator subordinate, and by directing it to promulgate implementing guidelines,” Palmones said.

    He added that the Energy department “is compromising the independence of ERC by directing the ‘joint issuance’ of implementing guidelines, when ERC has the sole mandate under Republic Act 9136 to evaluate power supply agreements.”

    Palmones said his group agrees with the House energy panel chairman, Rep. Reynaldo Umali, when he said there are some constitutional infirmities in the circular.

    For one, by issuing it, he added, the DOE encroached on the policy-making power of Congress, when policy determination belongs to Congress.

    “Another problem that the CSP may pose is that any losing bidder may likely go to court to contest the winning bidder. When this happens, it will put on hold the power supply of the cooperative or distributor, which may lead to brownouts,” Palmones said.

    The CSP, he added, is clearly lacking in legal basis and will only benefit certain generation companies at the expense of paying consumers.

    “The experience of cooperatives and distributors with regard to CSP all suggest that it is a failure. It is a puzzle, then, why some interested groups and individuals are still pushing for this on a national scale,” Palmones said.

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