The Energy Regulatory Commission said Monday it expects to complete the review of distribution utilities’ generation charges, including the results of the power supply agreement caravan, within the first half of 2023.
ERC chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta said this is one of the major priorities of the commission this year.
Dimalanta said the agency aimed to continue the “process by the first quarter”, referring to the generation rate review for pass-through charges, including the results of PSA caravan, and “complete them within the first half of 2023.”
The ERC launched in December an investigation on the accuracy and reasonableness of the generation rates being passed on by DUs to consumers.
The investigation, prompted by the recent increases in electricity rates and the numerous complaints received from consumers, will cover private utilities and electric cooperatives and their respective power suppliers under the PSAs.
The data validation requires the submission of documents to support the detailed calculation of fuel charges that account for a significant portion of the increases in electricity rates since January 2022.
It said the investigation aimed to confirm whether the charges passed on to the consumers were eligible costs and whether there were no hidden and extraordinary charges.
Dimalanta said one of the core functions of the ERC is consumer protection. She said upon the release of the findings, the DUs would not only be required to refund the excess amount collected, but might also face appropriate penalties when warranted.
Dimalanta said ERC would also complete the reset of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’s rates by the first quarter for the 4th regulatory period and the second and third quarter for the 5th regulatory period.
The ERC hopes to bring down transmission rates with the completion of the NGCP rate reset.
The agency said it would also complete, together with the Department of Energy, the revised guidelines for the competitive selection process for PSA contracting by DUs/ECs, and “dispense before the end of the year the pending ERC rulings on PSAs affected by the Supreme Court’s decision on Alyansa cases”.
Dimalanta said they would also pursue rate reset for private DUs and ECs in the second half.
She said another ERC priority is to commence the digitalization program of the agency in the second quarter, including by the implementation of electronic reporting for DUs/ECs and e-filing of consumer complaints.
Dimalanta said the agency is looking forward to 2023 “as the beginning of an era of greater transparency in electricity pricing.”
“The new URR [uniform reportorial requirement] form will allow more information to be available and accessible. This is the first step to the digital transformation we are undertaking in the commission to speed up our processes and allow more predictability in regulation,” the ERC chief said.