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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

SMC Global eyes ‘legal remedies’ after CA junked supply deal TRO

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SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. said Friday it would pursue “all available legal remedies” following the Commission on Appeal’s denial of a temporary restraining order in favor of subsidiary San Miguel Energy Corp.

SMEC asked for the issuance of a TRO or preliminary injunction to suspend the implementation of the Energy Regulatory Commission order dated Sept. 29, 2022 upholding a 2019 power supply agreement with Manila Electric Co. and denying its temporary rate hike request.

SMCGP said its move was “in line with our fiduciary duties to our stakeholders to preserve our ability to provide stable power supply for consumers and forge ahead with new and existing projects aimed at helping secure our country’s future power needs.”

“We remain confident that our government, through the judiciary, is one with us in promoting an environment where both consumers and industries collaborate in delivering on our country’s energy goals and providing viable and shared solutions to address the ongoing power crisis,” the company said.

Meralco, which previously opposed SMEC’s petition for a TRO, welcomed the CA decision. “The decision ultimately benefits Meralco’s customers as it ensures supply continuity supply and protects them from further exposure to potentially higher electricity rates,” the power retailer said.

The CA’s 16th Division said in a resolution SMEC failed to prove its right to a restraining order. It said the regulator’s denial of SMEC’s motion for price adjustment already preserves the status quo – which is the contract price in SMEC and Meralco’s PSA.

The CA ruled that the grant of SMEC’s TRO would “not serve its purpose, since it will have the effect, not of maintaining the Contract Price, but of setting aside the assailed Order itself, thereby rendering the main case, the petition for certiorari, moot.”

The appellate court said that if granted, “the writ of injunction will give SMEC the unrestricted power to terminate, at its own will, the power supply agreement to the detriment of public consumers.”

SMEC supplies 330 megawatts of Meralco’s baseload power requirement. It is the administrator of the 1,200-MW Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan.

The 16th Division granted SMEC’s motion that the subject case should be consolidated with another case with similar facts filed by South Premiere Power Corp. pending before the 13th Division of the CA.

SPPC won a 60-day TRO against ERC for a similar case, which is expected to expire next week. SPPC, the administrator of the 1,200-MW Ilijan power plant, stopped supplying Meralco 670 MW of supply starting Dec. 7 following the ruling from the CA’s 13th Division.

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