ERC Assigns Issuance Of Open Access Certificates To Meralco, DUs

9 September 2012

MANILA, Philippines - The qualified contestable customers under open access and retail competition (OARC) regime can already get their certificates from their servicing distribution utilities, such as the Manila Electric Company.

This was contained in the recent directive issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) allowing the distribution of certificates of contestability to qualified end-users by Meralco as well as the other DUs in Luzon and Visayas.

Of the more than 500 customers earlier certified by the ERC as prospective participants in the open access structure of the industry, the bulk will be coming from Meralco's franchise area.

''Notice is hereby given to all electricity end-users with a monthly average peak demand of at least one megawatt (1.0MW) and above in the Meralco franchise area, that the ERC is assigning the release of their certificates of contestability starting September 7, 2012,'' the regulatory body has announced.

It added that even those end-users which were given prior notices of potential contestability will also be transferred to Meralco.

''End-users on other franchise areas in Luzon and Visayas who were given the same notices of potential contestability may claim their certificates of contestability from their respective distribution utility,'' the ERC has similarly specified.

Power industry stakeholders are anticipating December 26, 2012 as the kick-off period for open access in the deregulated power industry, but some quarters are already sounding off that this may be deferred anew as the rules are not even firmed up yet.

The open access era has been setting some excitements in the industry at some point, but with the subsequent delays being encountered, the policy's implementation seem ending up in a dud.

Other critical concerns accentuated by stakeholders that may impede the process have been the tightening supply in the Luzon grid; and the lack of information drive yet to end-users who are qualified to participate in the open access policy.

That particular phase in the restructured power industry will finally offer ''choice'' to end-users on their preferred supply sourcing and they can even negotiate with power generators or retailers on the price that they want or would be able to afford.

Worried voices, however, are raising that the tight supply condition in the biggest power grid may not provide a very good pricing benchmark for those intending to contract for supply if open access will happen now.