QUALIFIED POWER end-users in Mindanao will be allowed to choose their own electricity supplier with the launch of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) within the month.

In a circular dated March 1, the Department of Energy (DoE) said that it will start commercial operations of RCOA, as well as the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) on March 26.

“All electricity end-users whose average peak demand falls within the threshold for contestability set by the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) shall be allowed, on a voluntary basis, to source their electricity supply from a retail electricity supplier (RES),” according to the circular.

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

Interested customers whose consumption does not fall within the threshold may still participate as part of an aggregated group in accordance with ERC’s rules.

All electricity end-users in the Mindanao grid with monthly average peak demand of between 100 kW and 300 kW over the next 12 months will be allowed to choose a power supplier.

They should also have historical monthly peak demand of at least 100 kW for three consecutive months.

“The migration of eligible electricity end-users under the RCOA or GEOP shall be governed by applicable procedures under the WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) Rules, Retail Rules, and Market Manuals, and other relevant issuances by the DoE and ERC,” according to the circular.

Distribution utilities with excess contracted capacity arising from the migration of customers taking advantage of the programs are required to notify the ERC.

The ERC has been tasked with providing regulatory support to ensure the success of the RCOA and GEOP commercial operations in Mindanao. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera