THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy (DoE) are preparing to release omnibus rules on consumer choice programs in the retail electricity market.

“We have included the green energy option program” in the consumer-choice rules, Chiara Angela LB. Blanco, division chief of ERC’s Contestable Market Division, told reporters last week.

The Energy department is hoping to release the circular outlining the rules early this year, she said.

Ms. Blanco said that the proposed guidelines will cover all the rules under the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA), Retail Aggregation Program, and Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), which she said are “consumer choice programs.”

“All of those — eligibility, procedures, licensing, magna carta for the rights of the retail customers — so that we will have a sole reference for the retail market,” she said.

The timetable for the release of the omnibus rules was meant to align with the implementation of RCOA, Retail Aggregation Program, and GEOP in Mindanao, which was originally targeted for Dec. 26, 2023.

Qualified contestable customers, or end-users consuming at least 500 kilowatts (kW) a month, may choose their own power suppliers through the RCOA scheme, as stipulated in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Under the aggregation program, two or more electricity end-users or all end-users within a contiguous area can be treated as a single contestable customer.

Meanwhile, GEOP allows users consuming at least 100 kW of power to source power from accredited retail energy suppliers which generate electricity from renewables.

The DoE seeks to establish a Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in Mindanao which will help facilitate the implementation of policy mechanisms that promote competition and consumer empowerment, which are currently available only in Luzon and the Visayas grid.

Ms. Blanco said input from focus group discussions has been taken into consideration in drafting the rules. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera