MANILA ELECTRIC CO. (Meralco) requested to defer the conduct of a competitive selection process (CSP) to procure 1,800 megawatts (MW) of power supply.

Last week, the Department of Energy (DoE) disclosed to reporters that the listed utility wanted to proceed with the bidding process in October as the pandemic pushed it to further move its timeline.

Yung request nila (Their request) was actually to delay it; (by) October na sila magsimula ng CSP (They would start the CSP by October),” Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola said.

Earlier, the company said it requested to move the basis forecast year for the supply procurement to 2022 from 2020, assuming that fuel prices would normalize by that time.

“That will provide a level-playing field for all generators and will ensure there will be more competition in the CSP,” Meralco Regulatory Affairs Head Jose Ronald V. Valles said.

“Of course, that will assure us that the rate will be competitive for our customers,” he added.

The DoE does not want the utility to further delay the conduct of the bidding, which it already approved. In a reply that Meralco has yet to receive, the department tasked Meralco to look for other platforms to hold the process.

“What we’re trying to say is to explore other medium to able to proceed (to) be able to hit the target of delivery of supply,” Mr. Delola said.

The latest CSP is Meralco’s third attempt in sourcing greenfield capacity.

“We have not yet received a copy of the reply, but we will immediately endorse it to the TPBAC (Third Party Bids and Awards Committee) as soon as we get it,” Meralco Utility Economics Head Lawrence S. Fernandez told the publication.

In September last year, the company declared its 1,200-MW CSP from upcoming power plants a failure as Meralco Powergen Corp.’s Atimonan One Energy, Inc. only came up with an offer.

The DoE later signed off its second round of bidding which was opened for all generators, both old and new.

Meralco then delayed the process due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Finally, it is set to proceed with an updated program that seeks to bid an additional 600 MW from the 1,500-MW baseload supply that is scheduled for bidding this year.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Adam J. Ang