PEMC pursues probe on ‘must offer’ rule violations

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The Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) is still pursuing its investigation into the alleged violation in the “must offer” rule committed by some power firms.

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PEMC President Melinda Ocampo said at least 1,611cases are now being probed by the agency’s Investigating Unit (IU) for possible violation of the Whole Electricity Spot Market (WESM) rules on electricity trading.

“As of June 2015, the Enforcement and Compliance Office (ECO) has received 1,611 complaints since February 2014 and mostly [about the]must offer rule,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo pointed out that the move is a testament to the market’s determination to strengthen its monitoring and enforcement processes.

“This is a way of promoting accountability and fostering a culture of compliance,” she added.

In 2014, the WESM saw a significant increase in the number of investigations as a result of the monthly endorsement to the ECO.

In the case of Therma Mobile Inc. (TMO), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., Ocampo said they have elevated the matter before the Court of Appeals (CA).

This was in response to the Pasig City Regional Trial Court’s issuing 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 ECO 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 case stemmed from PEMC findings that TMO withheld capacity during the November and December 2013 supply period, which resulted in higher power rates. PEMC imposed financial penalties amounting to P234.9 million against the firm.

But Aboitiz Power maintained that it delivered all its available capacity to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which was contrary to the findings of PEMC.

Apart from TMO, the PEM Board earlier 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.

According to PEMC-ECO, 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.

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