A PASIG trial court has stopped the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) from imposing a P234.9 million fine on Therma Mobile Inc. (TMO) for violations of the Whole Electricity Spot Market (WESM) rules on electricity trading.
Aboitiz Power Corp., TMO’s parent firm, said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange the Pasig City Regional Trial Court issued a writ of preliminary injunction preventing PEMC to impose the fines against the firm.
The court also prevented PEMC from transmitting the investigation report of its Enforcement and Compliance Office against TMO to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) until the dispute is finally resolved under the WESM Rules and Dispute Resolution Market Manual (WESM DRMM).
The ERC has conducted its separate investigation in line with the Supreme Court order to investigate anti-competitive behavior and abuse of market power allegedly committed by WESM participants.
The court was aware of an arbitration agreement between TMO and PEMC and ordered the parties to continue with the dispute resolution process embodied in the WESM Rules and WESM DRMM.
The case stemmed from PEMC findings that TMO withheld capacity during the November and December 2013 supply period which resulted to higher power rates and imposed financial penalties amounting to P234.9 million against the firm.
But Aboitiz Power said it delivered all its available capacity to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which was contrary to the findings of PEMC.
“Although TMO’s rated capacity is 234 MW (net), it could only safely, reliably and consistently deliver 100MW during the period under investigation because of the thermal limitations of its transmission lines and the technical and mechanical constraints of its generating units,” Aboitiz Power said.
Apart from TMO, PEM Board also slapped the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp.and PANASIA Energy Inc. with financial penalties for violating WESM’s “Must Run” and “Must-Offer” rules.
PEMC-ECO said PSALM and PANASIA Energy breached the “Must-Offer” rules covering the period of October to December 2013.
The PEM Board on August 14, 2014 approved the investigation of report confirming findings of violations of the WESM rules and approved the imposition of penalties against these companies.
Psalm and PANASIA Energy had asked for a reconsideration but was denied by the PEM Board.