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ERC orders distributors to explain higher-than-approved power charges

THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has issued show-cause orders against some distribution utilities (DUs) for charging more than authorized power generated under emergency power supply agreements (EPSAs).

In an advisory posted on Wednesday, the ERC reminded DUs that they can only procure EPSAs after a declaration of force majeure.

ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta said that the advisory was meant to clarify the procedure for procuring emergency supply.

“We observed from our records that some DUs signing EPSAs are implementing rates that do not comply with the DoE (Department of Energy) circular stating that the EPSA rate cannot be higher than the latest ERC-approved tariff for the same technology in the area. We have issued show-cause orders to some DUs because of this,” Ms. Dimalanta said in a Viber message on Thursday.

Ms. Dimalanta did not identify the DUs other than to say that they include Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Meralco signed EPSAs with AboitizPower Corp. to partly cover the 670-megawatt capacity it lost from South Premiere Power Corp.

“To avoid these situations, the advisory is issued so that the DUs will implement the correct rate and file their EPSAs without delay so we can authorize the proper rate for them,” she said.

In its advisory, the ERC also ordered EPSAs to be filed immediately upon signing, adding that such deals are not eligible for subsidies like the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification for Small Power Utilities Group areas. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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