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Mindanao power coops nix WESM, offer alternatives

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives or Amreco is pushing for an alternative mechanism to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, which is set to operate in the Mindanao electricity market by June this year.

Amreco is a consortium of 33 member electric cooperatives, and accounts for 1.94-million residential consumers in Mindanao. Twenty-seven of the member coops are connected to the island’s transmission grid, while six operate in the off-grid islands surrounding the main Mindanao island.

WESM establishes the basic rules, requirements and procedures that govern the operation of the Philippine electricity market.

In a workshop here, Amreco and power generators in Mindanao are coming up with mechanisms and protocols that would act like WESM.

However, Amreco president Sergio Dagooc said WESM is detrimental to Mindanao power consumers, as it established a power ceiling cap of 32 pesos per kilowatt hour.

In 2013, WESM introduced the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market, but consumers protested as it caused a massive spike in their electricity bill.

Dagooc said what Amreco and the Mindanao power generators are trying to achieve is what the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. is trying to achieve “but at a lesser cost for the consumers.”

“A Technical Working Group will be established composed of individuals who are technically well-versed in generation, transmission, distribution, systems operations [dynamics], metering and settlement,” Dagooc said.

Dave Tauli, president of the Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers and a veteran of the power industry, said what PEMC proposing is illegal. “This is a market, people should be consulted with. What the Department of Energy and PEMC did, they took the rules in Luzon and brought it to Mindanao,” he said. “We in Mindanao will not allow that those would be the rules.”

The TWG should analyze the pros and cons of the options and present them to Amreco. The output of the TWG will be useful in reviewing the proposed WESM in Mindanao.

Dagooc said they will be submitting the mechanism and protocols for the electricity market in Mindanao to the Energy Regulation Commission next week so the agency can incorporate it to the WESM provisions.

“The mechanism can be an alternative to the proposed WESM,” Dagooc added.

Adelmo Laput, President of AMRECO Power Supply Aggregation Group Corp., said the mechanism is an alternative electricity market “only as one of the options against the WESM proposed by PEMC.”

Laput said the alternative market will bid out power from generators based on the ERC-approved generation cost, and all other adjustments, “But is lower than the proposed 32 pesos cap,” he said.

Tauli said powerful business organizations like AboitizPower, Alsons and San Miguel are lobbying for WESM rules in Mindanao. “They will be the one to benefit from it,” Tauli said.

Dagooc said what AMRECO is doing is protecting consumers from “immoral” electric prices.

“What’s the difference of electricity now as compared to the one dispatch by WESM? Is there sugar added to it that it will cost that much?” he asked. 

Topics: Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives , Wholesale Electricity Spot Market

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