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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Meralco asks CA to deny supply deal TRO filed by San Miguel

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Manila Electric Co. said Thursday it asked the Court of Appeals to deny the temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction sought by San Miguel Energy Corp. on the power supply agreement they signed in 2019.

The Energy Regulatory Commission, through the Office of the Solicitor General, also filed with the CA an opposition to the issuance of the TRO in favor of SMEC. This followed Meralco’s Dec. 19 motion to lift the TRO issued by the CA in favor of South Premiere Power Corp. and to deny the generation company’s application for WPI. SMEC and SPPC are both subsidiaries of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.

SMEC supplies 330 megawatts of Meralco’s baseload power requirement under a supply deal executed following a competitive selection process.

“With due respect, the possible grant of the TRO or writ of preliminary injunction will lead to petitioner SME’s cessation in supplying electricity to Meralco, which it is obligated to do under the terms and conditions of the PSA,” Meralco said.

Meralco said in a motion dated Dec. 21 the issuance of an injunction would lead to the termination of the PSA with SMEC, disrupt the supply of electricity and expose customers to potentially higher power rates.

The power retailer said the court should deny SMEC’s application and “direct the parties to continuously implement the PSA that would serve and protect the public from the unnecessary burden of increased electricity costs.”

It cited Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 which expressly states that the supply sector, where SMEC belongs, is a business affected by public interest.

Meralco said allowing the property rights of a generation company to take precedence over public welfare “would be travesty of the policies enshrined under EPIRA and a disservice to the public.”

Meralco said its motion was based on several grounds. It said the grant of a TRO/WPI would reverse the status quo instead of preserving it, and the injunctive relief would render the case moot and academic.

The company also said the grant of a TRO/WPI would result in a pre-judgment of the main case, which is prohibited based on Supreme Court decisions.

It said the TRO and WPI are improper remedies for the particular case, and the grant should cause prejudice to consumers.

Meralco said SMEC had no clear legal right to grant injunctive relief and failed to demonstrate that it would suffer grave and irreparable injury if the injunctive relief would not be given as the “damage” it claimed was measurable.

“Meralco assures all its stakeholders that it is exhausting all measures to continue delivering sufficient, reliable and least cost power to its 7.6 million customers,” the company said.

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