Murang Kuryente joins calls to amend EPIRA law

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ADVOCACY group Murang Kuryente has joined in the call to review Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) in view of recent developments in the forging of power supply agreements (PSAs).

This came after Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) stayed firm on its position that its affiliate generation companies (gencos) can bid to supply power to the distribution utility.

“Meralco may be correct in saying that there is no legal impediment to their own gencos bidding for PSAs within its franchise area, but that does not prove what they want to do is ethical, given the obvious conflict of interest. But if what they say is true, then we need to amend the law to prevent this practice,” said Gerard C. Arances, Murang Kuryente spokesperson, in a statement on Sunday.

He said he was calling on the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), “to ensure that the least cost electricity rate is selected.”

“We hope that they will be vigilant regulators and not let the vested interests of the energy sector take over,” Mr. Arances said.

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that all PSA applications submitted by distribution utilities to the ERC on or after June 30, 2015 are to comply with the competitive selection process (CSP) based on the DoE’s 2018 department circular.

On June 13, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi initiated coordination with Meralco, the country’s largest electricity distributor, for the timely conduct of its CSP, as mandated in the court decision.

Under the CSP, electric cooperatives and distribution utilities must invite bids for the contract of its power supply to ensure transparency and fair competition.

Power consumer advocacy group Murang Kuryente has been calling on Congress to amend EPIRA, the law that restructured the country’s energy sector, to prevent claims of collusion between gencos and distribution utilities. — Victor V. Saulon